March 27, 2023 By Bill Parry
Formerly homeless, best-selling author Frank McKinney visited with the residents of Pam’s Place women’s shelter in Dutch Kills Thursday, March 23.
McKinney is on a 25-city tour to support his new book “Adversitology,” which chronicles his recent battle with Leukemia as well as his experience in overcoming homelessness. The key message of his new book is that mercy spreads across those who use their adversities to lessen another’s.
“During adversity we let our cautious, rational minds run the show and no longer listen to the urgings of the heart and soul to go for it,” McKinney said. “There comes a point during your efforts to move past your adversity when at least a few people will be shaking their heads and asking, ‘what in the world is he or she thinking?’ If that doesn’t happen, you are playing way too small.”
During his book tour, McKinney is staying with the unhoused in homeless camps in parks and under bridges. He is doing this to better understand the very specific experience of New York’s homeless community. McKinney spoke with the women at Pam’s Place about the conditions they face while providing hope and encouragement based on his own experience and advice, having faced his own extreme adversities.
“Women experience homelessness in a scarier, more isolating way than men, often stemming from severe domestic violence,” McKinney said. “I focused Adversitology’s message on overcoming relational adversity. Most of the women’s domestic adversities stemmed from the belief that they couldn’t live without a man in their life. Or put another way, they would live with a man at all cost, including the loss of their sense of self-worth.”
McKinney greeted each resident and signed his book for them while sharing words of encouragement.
A resident named Consuela wiped away tears after speaking with her new favorite author.
“I was crying because Frank took time to help me,” she said.
A woman named Sharonda said. “I’ve been hurting for so long. Hearing Frank gave me hope to feel better.” Another resident who didn’t want to use her name said, “God sent us a white man angel with purple hair today. I can’t wait to read an angel’s book.”
During his tour, McKinney is making stops in facilities up and down the East Coast including
homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, women’s facilities, veteran’s facilities, hospitals, juvenile detention centers, and treatment centers. He said he found the residents of Pam’s House to be particularly engaged and interactive.
“At all Adversitology Tour stops, following each presentation, we have a raffle for a choice of three prizes; cash, gift cards, or a copy of Adversitology,” McKinney explained. “It’s kinda like a game show where we let guests choose what they want if they win. Remember, many of our guests are homeless. There are usually 9 winners, 3 each of cash, gift card, or book. At Pam’s Place, the first three winners chose the book because they know that it will feed their minds and help them overcome an adversity. The gift card will only feed their stomach, and the cash, well, we hope it doesn’t feed a bad habit.”
Before heading off, McKinney shared one more insight from his visit to Pam’s Place.
“Contrary to what you might think a homeless person would choose cash over a book, choosing Adversitology happens often,” he said.