Issac Avila, 65, aka Chico, has been out on the Downtown Miami streets for 10 years.
Avila used to be a printer at the Miami Herald and still walks around the area. He visits the Adrienne Arsht center every Tuesday for food from volunteers. This is where he met Gaby, a volunteer for Miracle Messages, which is an organization that helps homeless individuals reunite with loved ones by recording video messages.
A YouTube video of Avila was uploaded on January 25, 2016. His mother saw the video and knew it was her son.
Stories like this happen all the time at Miracle Messages. Kevin F. Adler started Miracle Messages in 2014 in honor of his Uncle Mark who lived on-and-off the street for 30 years.
Perry Thornley had been homeless for five months. He made a Miracle Message to his son and daughter who he hadn’t seen in 18 years and 9 years, respectively. He reunited with his son in under 24 hours with a phone call.
Jeffrey Gottshall hadn’t seen his sister in over 20 years and had been labeled a missing person for 12 years. He reunited with his sister, niece and nephew in under 3 weeks.
While social media is often criticized as being something that separates people, Miracle Messages show how powerful a tool it can be for reunion.