Tag: homelessness

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See The World Like A Traveler-2

 

It’s the heat of the summer and most families and people take advantage of the warmer temperatures to escape from their busy lives and go on a vacation. Some explore other parts of the world while others plan a staycation in their home state or city. At Sox Place we meet lots of travelers and train hoppers that have made the decisions to be land pirates as they travel the world by train, van, or by thumb. Here are some tips and tricks from some travelers that have come through at Sox Place.

  1. It’s Not all Cupcakes and Butterflies
    Free to the open road, with not a care in the world—traveling can seem like the perfect gig.
    “It’s beautiful and full of wonderful new things to see,” said Melissa “but it’s not always cupcakes and butterflies. However it’s well worth weathering the storm to see all the rainbows,” she said.  Yet vans can break down, money and friends can be scarce and sometimes you get stuck. “Traveling isn’t all fun and games. It can suck sometimes.” added Morgan.
  2. Stay Respectful
    When you arrive in someone else’s city it’s important to treat those around you well, and hopefully you too will receive some mutual respect back. “Respect is key and get’s you far,” said Osiris. “Respect yourself but also the people around you and the city you’re in,” he said as he sat under the shade of a car, dog in hand.
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  3. Scout Drop-In Centers
    Being a nomad can be a low maintenance endeavor. Besides, all your belongings have to fit in a bag or on your body so it’s important to only carry what you need. That’s where places like Sox Place comes in handy. “Keep your eye’s and ears open for drop ins, similar to Sox Place,” said Melissa. Places that provide food a place to relax, and other essentials will make traveling a bit easier. Think of it like visiting a new city and knowing you have a long distance family member that offers to let you stay with them. This provides a sense of peace and stability when life from day to day can be so unpredictable.
  4. Choose Your Friends Wisely
    “I’ve been beat up under bridges before,” said Morgan twirling and adjusting her sandy brown hair from underneath her hat, “It’s just rough sometimes.” Morgan who has been traveling since she was 17 admits that having a good crew can make or break a trip and that sometimes it doesn’t always work out for the best. Keep in mind that most people out there are looking out for number one, so travel with people you trust.
  5. Keep Your Feet Happy
    Melissa reminds us that you are on the move a lot and taking care of your feet is vital. In fact Sox Place was started by Doyle just handing out socks to homeless youth knowing that socks are one of the most under donated items to homeless.
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  6. Use Your Head
    “As for trains.. I tell people not to be stupid,” said Melissa, “it’s a huge piece of machinery that can kill you. Use common sense. Wait for them to stop and be inconspicuous.” Hitchhiking can be unpredictable and sometimes owning a Van can be too costly, many kids revert back to hopping trains to travel the country as a free way to get where they need to go.
  7. Stay Humble
    “Respect those around you who are wiser, and most importantly stay humble,” said Melissa. Don’t be too proud to fly a sign stating that you need help or that you’re hungry. Most people are uncomfortable asking for help, but if you’re a traveler it’s a necessity. Morgan was very adamant about not only being humble but also staying positive, “I am grateful for everything that comes my way, you get what you give. Sometimes that’s just being friendly and having a good attitude,” said Morgan.
  8. Embrace the Adventure
    Imagine hanging with your best friends on a boxcar train whizzing past vast landscape as the sun sets over the passing horizon. “You have to be brave and get out into the world and see it,” said Melissa.
    Reminiscing about some great time with friends Morgan talks about the benefits of the journey. “There’s nothing better than sitting on a train, if you’re lucky enough to have a bottle and a pack of cigarettes, drinking with your friends and watching the beautiful scenery go by,” she said. “You just get to see a different part of the country that no body else gets to see. In that way you’re fortunate and it’s usually really pretty,” she said.
    Beautiful Melissa
  9. Roll with the Punches
    There’s always going to be crap that life throws your way. Even traveling, wild and free, there will always be bumps in the road and things that rock the boat. However don’t forget that those always pass. “You have your good days and bad days but just remember that everything happens for a reason so it’s all gonna work out,” said Morgan.
  10. Go Home If You Can
    I almost always assume that travelers have chosen that life and are happy with the loads of freedom that they experience on the road with not a care in the world. That’s why I was astonished by Morgan’s answer for her number one piece of advice.
    “Go home. If you can go home, do go home. People should only be travelers if their parents don’t love them enough to let them come home,” she said seriously chased with a nervous giggle.
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Spring Cleaning

The trees are budding and the snow is melting here in Denver, and I’m really hoping that the warmer temperatures are here to stay. Has anyone began cleaning out their closets yet? I know I have a few things I need to bag up. You know who’s closet is cleaned out? Sox Places.  I noticed that we are in bad shape when it comes to some essentials for our kids down here who probably feel the elements a little deeper than the rest of us. So for you, I made a special list, a list of things that we ALWAYS love getting, in no particular order.

 

  1. Socks
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    This might be a “thank you captain obvious” moment for most of you since our name is Sox Place, but I wanted to remind all you that we really do love socks a lot. Some of you may or may not know that when Doyle embarked on his mission to help the street kids of Denver years ago, he researched that socks are one of the highest under donated items to the homeless and so he began delivering socks. Thus how our place got its name.


  2. Jeans/Pants
    These go appreciated in all shapes, sizes, and textures. Yoga pants, sweats, dress pants, denim, you name it our kids wear it and in multiple layers! I’ve had several people looking for nicer pants because they had an upcoming interview that they wanted to look good for. I’ve also had many other people looking for water proof sweats or good sturdy denim. All shapes and sizes are appreciated but Men’s jeans tend to be the most highly sought after item, and one we don’t see much of.


  3. Hoodies/Jackets/Coats
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    I know that it’s spring break for everyone else but for us stuck in Denver it’s cold! It’s legit snowing as a write this post. Even when it’s warm here our kids still sleep outside and need those layers of jackets and coats, so really this is an item that everyone appreciates.


  4. Underwear/Boxers
    We are lucky enough to have a “hygiene closet” where we have lots of items for the kids like floss, tooth paste, hair brushes, tampons, baby wipes…etc. Separate from the clothing closet which is made up mostly of used items, we like to pass out new items and this is where we like to provide clean, fresh underwear and undergarments for all men and women and kids.


  5. Sweets
    EDITIMG_7534 We have a lovely gentleman that brings by expired cakes, cookies, and doughnuts from grocery stores once a week, and has been doing this for a long time. He is such a blessing and just the coolest guy. When we hand out food, dessert is always the fastest item leaving the shelves. It takes some conserving and planning to make sure our sweets last us all week long but a little help goes a long way. So if you’re thinking of donating but not sure where to start, cookies is a great place to start.


  6. Blankets & Sleeping Bags
    I had to explain to a five-year-old this year why people sleep outside and what it means to be homeless. The best thing I could come up with during this hard conversation was comparing it to the time he went camping and slept outside in a sleeping bag. It’s like that, but in a city, and everyday. Shelter is scarce and anything to protect them from the elements help.


  7. Baby ClothesKiddos
    The amount of small children that come through fluctuate throughout the year, and with summer a few months away we are expecting to see more and more come through.  Also many times throughout the year we have young ladies that are expecting new ones and it’s a great thing to be able to give them some peace of mind about them being able to clothe their upcoming little ones.


  8. Shoes & Shoe Laces
    We loves shoes for our kids and right now we are desperately running low on shoes for all our attendees. Tennis shoes, skate shoes, professional shoes, boots and slippers are all highly sought after items that fly off the shelf. You know that pair of Vans that you haven’t worn for the past couple of months? Our kids will wear those until the soles fall
    out. Or those tennis shoes your fifteen year old grew out of? We totally would love those too. What if they don’t have shoe laces anymore? We won’t ask questions but we would be really grateful if you brought a pack of those with you!


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  9. Belts
    Talk about something that we rarely see come through. Our kids down here aren’t that picky when it comes to pants. A size too small or too large is always doable especially if we have a belt to give with it. They don’t have to be in perfect shape, maybe one of the notches wore out and broke through, that’s okay! We only get belts maybe once every couple of months and they go fast.


  10. Meat & Proteins 
    While you’re cleaning out your closet don’t forget to clean that fridge! (: We try and make sure that our kids are getting fed until they’re full and are eating balanced meals while they’re here. Usually we try to incorporate meat or some sort of proteins for the kids that come by to see us. Ground hamburger, taco meat, chicken and hot dogs are a few of the things we love to see stocked in our freezers.


That about sums up our spring cleaning list. We love you guys and all the support you have continued to give Sox Place over the years. We survive on our faith and the hearts of the people that are making donations to our ministry. Without that we would have shut down a long time ago.  Continue to pray for us as we wage war on the wicked problems homelessness by continuously showing these kids love and grace, something they don’t get many other places.

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Defeating Drought
A note from our Co-Founder, Executive Director, and pastor Doyle Robinson: “These kind of stories are difficult because so much is in the story – pain of rejection, isolation, ridicule, confusion, and questions that seems to be without answers. We here at Sox Place, and it starts with me, know what our command from God is: Love Him with everything and then our neighbor as we do ourselves.  Jesus used the example of a Samaritan helping a stranger (probable a Jew), pretty self explanatory – love those who are different than we are, strangers, different. We at Sox Place embrace those God brings to us because we were embraced first by the outlandish, undeserved, crazy love of Jesus! We embrace them where they are, who they are, not because they are like us or believe like us, all along the way sharing the Gospel of hope, love, acceptance, and redemption.”

I took a seat next to Misty at one of the white tables at Sox Place that had traces of spaghetti left from the person that had sat there before. Parked next to the table was a shopping cart full of her valuables that she always kept a close eye on.  After having a hard time transitioning from jail back into the community at 20 years of age, she found herself homeless. “I couldn’t afford rent, I couldn’t get a job, due to the nature of my case I’m often denied work, which sucks,” said Misty with a bit of sass as she sat back in her chair and crossed her arms.

Time in jail, years on the streets, and a lack of friendships along the way, Misty has encountered many obstacles to overcome from a very young age.  Abandoned at just five years old, Misty’s biological parents moved her to Colorado where her aunt and uncle became her legal guardians.  Misty has had a unique life journey by having to navigate her life as someone who identifies as a woman although she was born a male. “Growing up having a gender identification that’s different from most people and having to grow up in the background I grew up in just didn’t mix. My family wouldn’t understand it and I didn’t want to explain to them that I identified that way. They never would have believed anything I ever told them. Instead I just kept my mouth shut,” she said.

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Regardless of Misty’s family life, she claims that her biggest inspiration in life is her Baptist Grandma who recently passed away. Her Grandmother was the religious backbone of her family and Misty expressed that a major takeaway she always got from church was not to judge others. “I have always used that as a guideline principle for my life. If I judge somebody then I assume I will be judged harder than I already am. I feel judgement pretty harshly as it is, and it hurts me, so I try not to judge others,” Misty said with a sincere tone.

Recalling the important people in her life, Misty stared up at the ceiling for a moment as if a projection screen of memories danced above our heads. She spoke very highly of her Grandmother and the impact she had on her life.  “The last words my Grandma spoke to me before she passed away has stuck with me. I can remember it like yesterday. Her eyes searched as she recited these words delicately,

“I know you’re not like the others and quite honestly I don’t care, I like who you are.  Just make the right decisions and don’t screw up.”

“My Grandma was more baptist than the rest of my family has ever been. For her to say that she knew I was different and she loved me for the way I was…I took that to heart. It’s been burned on my mind ever since. It showed me what true love is. I’m striving to make the best decisions, to do my best. I know I’m not always there but I’m striving everyday.”

Many people came and stopped by during my talk with Misty, asking her about what she was doing later that day or just to hang out with us. There’s no doubt that she is familiar with everyone here at Sox Place, which has been a resource that she has used often during her years on the streets. “It’s where I can find community and of course food” she said with a chuckle. “I can come down here hang out, get on the computers and access Facebook so that I can communicate with friends and family. It’s been a home away from the home I don’t have yet. When I’m struggling I know that I can come to Doyle or Jordan, I know that somebody will be here to talk to if I need it.”

Although Misty has been a frequent attender of Sox Place for the past few years, she has been given the opportunity to make a new start for herself as she’s been approved for a housing voucher. This is a huge step for her and a step in the direction of honoring the instructions of her Grandmother. “I can actually start looking for a place to live. I think that should be easy enough, I’m just going to sign a lease for whatever opens up first. I’m not going to be picky. Ive been homeless for three years so there’s no point to bother with picking and choosing, especially because it’s a life time voucher,” she said.

Life has a funny way of throwing us into some of the hardest circumstances, and Misty is coming out of a drought. When life seems to dry up its resources, it’s important to hold on tight. There will be always be times in life where hope seems lost. When the time comes to uplift and encourage those around us, do so with a loving heart. It’s hard to say the sort of impact this will have on others’ lives.

Misty spoke of a few genuine people that were always there for her. “Tough times, great times, thick and thin, it never mattered. That’s a definition of A friend. It’s just easier to know that I have a friend that is with me regardless of my situation.”

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Community

If there’s a constant between all the kids I speak with at Sox Place, it’s that they are there for one another.  Obviously not everyone gets along, but they each have a web of people that are their “street brothers” or “street sisters.”  Many of them have spoke to me about their “street family” and how without them they wouldn’t have made it this long. They realize without community they would die out here. The world is hard, dark and unforgiving. If anyone knows that it’s these guys and girls.

What I love about Sox Place is that the street kids include us in their community, and they feel included in ours.  They find family here, they find relationship here. Just like they have their friends who have their backs on the streets, they know that they also have Sox Place and everyone that works here has their back too. If there is a new comer to town it’s not long before they end up walking through those big red doors. “What is this place?” I have been asked countless times by those who have found themselves either stuck in Denver or just traveling through.

As someone who sits in the middle between all our readers, our supporters, and our street kids what I see is one very large community.  Do you all know that you too are part of these kids lives on a very personal level? They have their street family, they have Sox Place, these are their resources. When you support us, when you become part of our family then that means these kids also have you. Without your continued support we couldn’t be here for these kids.

I love this because, how often in our day to day lives do we get to engage on a deep and personal level with the people in our lives?  I had a friend come to me just last week at the end of her rope.  It’s my duty to love her and do what I can to help because she’s part of my community.  What if we treated the people we see on a daily basis like we would die without them, and they would die without us?

The truth is without the support of our community, Sox Place couldn’t exist for these kids. I urge you to assess  your lives, who is in your community? Do you have people that surround you that have your back, that you can be real with? Someone on your team that you can call at 3 A.M. and know they will be there for you?

That’s what this circle is all about. You’re here for us, we’re here for you, and together we’re here for the kids that are battling the streets and attempting to survive and thrive. So thank you for being on our team, for having our backs! Love you guys.

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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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Sox Place-2

 

We wanted to share the following 9 News article with our readers about the upcoming Colorado Gives Day. It helps explain a bit more in detail about how it works, and how it can absolutely change the entire financial atmosphere of non-profits in your community, for example the Special Olympics listed below in the article shares what it did for them.  Colorado Gives Day is a great opportunity to give to your favorite local non-profit and it helps make your gift go further. Please consider us this December 8th as we rely on our gracious supporters to continue to love and walk along side the street kids of Denver.

KUSA – Colorado Gives Day 2015 will start at midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

This is the sixth year of the online-giving campaign that raises tens of millions of dollars for hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado.

In 2014, Colorado Gives Day raised $26.2 million that was distributed to 1,677 nonprofits in just 24 hours. Organizers expect to exceed that number this year.

Special Olympics Colorado is one of the organizations participating in Colorado Gives Day and the $231,000 it looks to raise next week will impact 4,000 new athletes in our state. Special Olympics Colorado offers programs in nearly every community in Colorado, and they don’t charge fees for athlete and family participation.

To sign up for Colorado Gives Day now, or to find out more about the many organizations that are participating, visit www.coloradogives.org.

 

If you would like to donate to Sox Place this season please visit our donate page!

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every day

 

Being homeless is not about being lazy or relying on “the system.” Being homeless is not about being scummy, smelly, or dirty.  Being homeless is more than just being without a house, because a home is more than a roof over your head. Being homeless is about survival.  It prevents 1.7 million young people in the United States from dreaming, experiencing safety and love on a daily basis.

Often I sit down with Doyle in the morning at Sox Place discussing some of the kids that frequently attend, ideas about getting their stories out and God’s role in this ministry.  When he recalls specific kids and their stories I can see the tapes rolling in his head as he visualizes past encounters.  This time he’s referring to a time when his son Jordan was in grade school.

“The first homeless girl I knew was from Cedar Hill, Texas and went to second grade with Jordan,” Doyle said,  “she would hide under the family car from her abusive dad.”

This is where Merriam Webster’s dictionary definition of a home as “One’s residence” doesn’t quite capture what a home really is.  If home is just a residence, then being homelessness means being only without a residence, and after working with young adults for fourteen years, Doyle sees home, and homelessness as so much more than a dictionary definition.

“A home should be a residence where there is love, provision, protection, boundaries, correction and safety. There are many more homeless youth and young adults than just the ones who are recognized by our government and statistics in the physical sense.”

Ultimately being homeless is about you and me.  It’s our community and those on the streets are our neighbors. So what does it take for you and me to step up and move to make a difference in our communities?

For me it was a one time missions trip to Denver’s Sox Place with a youth group I was involved with a few years back. It set a fire in my soul to make a difference for these kids.

Maybe you don’t know where to start, I urge you to make a trip down here!  See and experience first hand what we do. Ask where you can help. This might be financially, physically, or spiritually.  We are always praying for financial gifts to help keep our heat on and doors open.  When groups or individuals pay us a visit and serve a meal, or donate socks, it means so much to us! Most of all we need to be on your prayer lists. Pray for us, but more importantly pray for our kids. Pray for their survival, pray that they might find freedom, refuge and peace.


Keala

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E S T . 1 9 6 1
As we think about our vote in the upcoming presidential election it brings to mind how we choose things and make decisions about who we serve and support.  So my question is this:  how would you vote for Sox Place? The snow and wind is coming to downtown Denver with our street youth out there in the cold! It is predicted to be a record snowfall this year and these kids need your help. Your vote for Sox Place and the hundreds we serve each week saves lives and provides support to the street youth like no other place in Denver.
Will you vote for a hot meal, clothes, crisis intervention, and love for those that come every day to Sox Place? Will you vote to keep it open for those that need it most, like locals Danny, G, X, Anchors, Sunshine, Ashley, Marcus, little ones like Deliah, travelers like Scruffy, Scott, Toughy, and Kat? What is the value of Sox Place? It’s the value of the 150,000+ we’ve served in our 13 1/2 year existence!
Right now we need to be able pay for December rent – $4300. God has always supplied through faithful generous people like you, giving to Sox Place. We need your generosity now! I’m asking for people to vote for Sox Place by donating to the mission in the next 2 weeks by providing funding for rent, meals and services to the youth.  We pray for abundance to provide for these kids in this season!  Thank you!
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For halloween I’m going to be Elsa. And for Zombie Crawl I’m going to be a zombie ballerina. My face is going to be colored like a zombie and then I’m gonna have a little tutu on. And then I’m going to be a zombie and walk like a zombie.

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