Tag: denver street youth

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Sox Place Resolution Guide

Have you made your New Years Resolution yet?  The first week of January has already spun by, can you believe it?  That may mean that you’ve already abandoned those resolutions, or you’re attempting to navigate them the best you can.  I didn’t get around to making a list before January 1st but instead I have spent this week trying to figure out what I want to accomplish this year.  Should I take up a new hobby, or maybe just try to be better at managing the time I have to focus on the responsibilities I already have?

As a young adult in todays’s world it seems that my attention is being fought for and pulled in every which direction. I remember as a kid hearing adults talk about the days coming and going faster than the year before, but I didn’t understand.  As a kid days feel like they take forever to pass. Just the thought of waiting for Christmas to come again seems like it will take a lifetime when you’re a child.  When you’re an adult, it’s easy to consider leaving the lights up because you know the Holidays will be here again in a blink of an eye.

As I enter into the new year I have realized it’s important is to imagine who you want to be, imagine the life you want.  What do you want your relationships look like? With your kids, with your spouse, with you friends.  What does going to work life feel like?  Imagine.  Here are some goals and resolutions that I have come up with, as a servant of Christ with a heart for his work.

  1. Be Willing to Wait. Sometimes I feel like my prayers fall on deaf ears, or maybe God is simply ignoring me.  When I dive into scripture I realize that God can and always will hear my questions, my pleas and cries. I also realize that sometimes he calls his people to wait. When I want things to happen right now, sometimes God is calling for me to be patient.  I’m not the first one he has asked to wait on Him. He kept Moses in a desert for 40 years!  So my first resolution is really to draw near, be faithful to my Father, and be willing to wait on his plan, and not depend on my own.
  2. Be Kind to Yourself.  We’re already surrounded by so much negativity. The news, the neighbors, the grumpy guy next to your cubicle. Take the first step and treat yourself kindly. Realize who you are, discover who God says you are, and begin to kick those negative thoughts.  When we love ourselves, we can to begin to love others better. Which brings me to my next resolution.
  3. Be Kind to Others.  My mission is to bring Christ’s mission to those that are hungry, broken, and tired.  Which is why I find myself at Sox Place on a weekly basis. These kids are not being reached by church on Sundays, but they are on our doorstep every week.  Hungry, broken, and tired. I need to remember that I am here to spread the love of Jesus and not for any other reason.  Sox Place is not about me, it’s not about Doyle or Jordan, it’s about Jesus.
  4. Slow Down.  As mentioned in resolution number one, life can feel like it is spinning by so fast, and sometimes it feels like I can’t get a grasp on my life.  My resolution is to find time in my day to slow down and enjoy what’s around me.  Find time in the company of others and laugh.  Or seek solitude by sipping on your favorite cup of tea and dive into a coloring book or a hobby that you really enjoy.
  5. Learn to Accept Love.  Life is harsh, and sometimes we build these walls so high around our hearts we become unable to receive love. We think we’re protecting ourselves. Or maybe we think we’re protecting others. It’s so important for us to realize we’re not the sum of all the bad things we’ve done or of all the bad things that have been done to us. Realize who you are, and be set free from the chains of lies that hold us down and keep us from dreaming.

My resolutions are not just for me and how to live my life, but also how I want to treat others. My ultimate resolution is to help others live this way. Help Sox Place kids learn to accept love and to be kind to themselves and others.  To encourage my readers to slow down and be willing to wait for God to move in your lives. My ultimate resolution is to be a safe person where judgment can’t be found but empathy can.

Comment below, I want to hear what all of you are working on this new year! We love you guys and thank you for supporting Sox Place and all our kids that visit us everyday.

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20151215-EDITIMG_2572 I am one of those Coloradan’s that LOVES the snow (and I don’t understand why people live here if they hate the cold). When I woke up this morning to almost eight inches of white powder sitting outside my window I instantly felt cozy. I broke out my biggest flannel shirt and leggings and my big fur Sorel’s.  Then I remembered…as much as I love snow…I hate Denver traffic especially when it’s snowy.  It seems like everyone leaves their brains at home. Please…leave your Mazda Miata’s at home people!

After a frustrating 45 extra minute commute down to Sox Place, I finally parked and headed for the safety and warmth of Sox Place.  Once we opened the doors all the kids seemed super grateful to be indoors, could I blame them? So I stepped outside and hung out with a few of them that were puffin on their cigarettes. One girl asked if I would snag a photo of her as she huddled under the truck. She gave a whole hearted smile and two thumbs up.

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Mentally my morning came to a halt. Here she is, all smiles, and someone who has been forced to sleep in this crazy cold Denver weather, and here I am, complaining about petty little things like my extra long commute.  I begin to feel pretty dumb. These kids teach me new things every day even without doing it intentionally.

Christmas is just ten days away and many of these kids, if any, will wake up indoors.  I challenge you this Christmas season to slow down. Please don’t get caught up in the Holiday Chaos. Instead I invite you to spend Christmas with someone who might spend Christmas alone this year. Maybe that’s a street kid, or maybe, that’s someone you know at your church or work that has no family near by.  Let’s remember to think of others, during Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year.

Thanks for thinking and praying for us! We really love being in community with all of you!

Love,
Keala

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As the days grow shorter and my last semester as a student at the local University draws near I find myself meditating on a question I have thought about most of my life. “What is my purpose?”  “Where will I find my place?”  I’ve been working towards the end of my college career for five years now and as much as I am excited, I am also scared. But I urge to know where can I be used to make a difference?

At a very young age I felt an urgency to make a difference in the lives of those around me for the better. I shuttered at the thought of anyone having to suffer and it broke my heart when I learned one of life’s lessons; that I can’t save everyone (or anyone for that matter) from the wrench getting thrown into the “well oiled machine” called life.

That’s when my eyes were opened to the difference between life saving and life serving. It’s easy to want to save others, especially when we are surrounded by so much hurt and tragedy. The kids at Sox Place are hurting and I want to save them from the elements outside, from the strangers on the street, from their abusive homes and families they fled from so long ago (or not so long ago).  But that’s way above my pay grade.

Does this mean that we sit by and do nothing?  Although no one can save anyone, it doesn’t mean that we can’t serve others.  When we serve our communities and give to those in our neighborhoods we are making lasting changes in lives of people that we may never know. This isn’t about saving others, it’s about serving others. Sometimes we are just a stepping stone in someone else’s life, moving them a little bit closer to a place where they are free to dream and hope for the future.

This December 8th is Colorado Gives Day.  Come along side us this time of year and make a difference in the lives of those kids that want to hope, but may be too worried about where they are sleeping that night to dream of a better life. Partner with Sox Place and become that stepping stone in these kids’ lives. We have walked along side these kids on a daily basis for thirteen years investing in the lives of the outcasts, and the overlooked, the lost and the broken. We invite you to walk with us by donating to Sox Place. Join the movement and give where you live this Colorado Gives Day.

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Have you ever wondered if the men and women standing on the street corners asking for help, actually need it? I know I have.  Their broken down cardboard signs, signed off with a “God Bless” tugs at my heart strings every time. I want to help those that are in need, but how do I know what I donate; money, food, or otherwise is actually going to someone who really needs my help?  I know that not all people with signs asking for assistance actually need it, and I also know there’s a lot of people who aren’t asking for help, that actually really need it.  So what’s a “giver” to do?

That’s where organizations like Sox Place come in.  By providing food, clothing, diapers, dog food, socks, underwear, and other sanitary items to help street kids, Sox Place has become a popular place for the youth on the streets to spend their days. Everyone who attends Sox Place has a story, many have been kicked out of their homes, grew out of the foster care system, or are enduring financial hardship.

Creating meaningful relationships is at the core of what Sox Place does by loving and supporting those that really do need help. I sat down with Nathan, one of our frequent attenders who expressed his gratitude for Sox Place and how it has changed his life.

“This place, is a little more real than some of the other resources in Denver who always make it feel like they have to be there for us, but Sox Place is here because they genuinely want to help us out,” Nathan said. “I’ve come into Sox Place depressed many times, but I always leave feeling like a much better person.  There’s always people around here who I know are going through the same things I’m going through.  They’re really listening to me and I’m listening to them and we connect. I always end up feeling better about my situation when I leave here.”

Sox Place is here to serve kids that are on the streets, struggling to survive by providing more than just food and clothing. We also provide job training by offering internships to help build a resume for kids that are looking to work.

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Interns learn to work hard and manage property

“They gave me an internship, which was really cool, and a great learning experience.  Over the past four years Sox Place has given me food when I needed it, a place to sleep during the day and provided me a chance to get to know a lot of people and now I have a family. It’s a really great place to be,” said Nathan.

Nathan’s contagious smile that usually sits spread across his face turned serious as we began to discuss what he really would like from society. It was clear that he’s grateful for the food, clothing and shelter that has been given to him, but the one thing he yearns for, and what continues to bring him back to Sox Place is being treated like a regular human being.

“I would like for society to treat us more like people. Everyday hundreds of people walk down the mall and see a homeless person and just walk on by, avoiding eye contact. They don’t acknowledge us as actual people, they don’t acknowledge us as actual humans, they only see us as HOMELESS PEOPLE and not human beings, and that hurts,” Nathan said, slightly raising his voice full of sincerity.

What makes people in suit and ties better than people in donated or thrifted clothing?  What constitutes them to have the right to a happy life, versus kids who have left an abusive home, or the foster care system? I saw the hurt in Nathan’s eyes when we began to talk about the rest of society, that had a safe home to return to.

“The difference between us and them is they have a lot of stuff, so they have this superiority complex, they believe they’re better than us.  What they don’t understand is if their house burned down in a fire, they could easily be in the same position we’re in, it could happen to anyone. I didn’t think it would happen to me, and I’m out here,” he said.

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Feet taking a break from the harsh world, but in need of socks.

What Nathan brought to my attention was that, having more things doesn’t make you a superior human, and America, and most civilized countries base their worth on profits and consumerism. Homeless, poor, rich, middle class, we’re all humans and more than things, all humans want to be treated as humans, as equals. Loved, accepted, and feeling worth something.

It’s easy to point the blame at society and demand equal treatment to those that are homeless and those that aren’t, but what does that even begin to look like? I was shocked by Nathan’s answer as he began to list things that he noticed, were unfair.

“If we were treated as equals places wouldn’t charge excessive amounts of money to use the bathroom, just because we have no where else to go. We wouldn’t be harassed for having to sleep outside, and we would be allowed to sit down on the mall during daylight hours. There would be no such thing as an urban camping ban,” said Nathan.

I’ve personally never been charged to use a bathroom, I’ve never been harassed for sitting down on the sixteenth street mall on a hot summer day, and this is all due to how I look.  I look like I’m not homeless, therefore I don’t get harassed. Next time you encounter a street kid, treat them as your equal.

If you are looking to help those in need, help by donating or supporting organizations like Sox Place, that treat street kids like the equals that they are and provide them with the help they actually need.  Volunteer in your communities, when you go out to dinner box up the extra food and find a street kid to feed, donate your clothes to Sox Place or local shelters, or buy a Sox Place shirt which helps fund us and keep our doors open! These are all great ways to get involved and make your community a better place.IMG_2013

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So many people come and go from Sox Place on a daily basis, taking only what they need and leaving what they don’t.  So far I’ve met many people who are experiencing life’s tragedies and pressing health conditions, some that would leave any body hopeless about what the future holds.

And yet that doesn’t stop so many of those that visit us from enjoying what life has to offer.  There’s so many stories here at Sox Place, stories that are perfect depictions of bravery, courage, and capture a passion for life when all seems lost.  How many are on this planet today living this way?

It seems like the passion for living gets lost somewhere on the commute to work or school.  Millions of people just following the status quo, doing what they’re told, just breathing to stay alive, but there’s not a whisper of a thrill in the time that goes by.

The people at Sox Place remind myself to live with passion.  Don’t be afraid to be hopeful for what the future may hold.  There’s no sense in living a life that’s empty but “successful”. There’s no sense in allowing for the curve balls to kill the joy that comes from the heart.  When the going gets tough it’s easy to fall into sadness and self pity, but it takes work to get up everyday and dance.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

If you would like to contribute to Sox Place and you don’t know where to start, check our new merch page out!

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Thanks to some of our generous supporters who donated $30 to give some of our kids new skateboards!

Want a Sox Place Skateboard?  Want to donate one?  Go to Sox Place Store.

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