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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
I’ll admit when I first met Milenia and Face I wasn’t sure how they were going to feel about me, but almost right off the bat I knew how I felt about them. They certainly aren’t your average couple, but instead dynamic, interesting and I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone like them. It’s more than just the tattoos that each tell a story, and it’s more than the fact that they were once train riders themselves. It has more to do with the degree to which they serve those around them.
On day one that I began as a volunteer, Milenia showed me around the place, instructing me on how things worked. What they hygiene room was, and how many shirts people were allowed to take from the closet. All the while she was helping in the kitchen, being asked to check the email, and planning to somehow sit down and write thank you cards to some of our supporters. She never once showed an ounce of stress. She reminded me of a saying my mom used to use, “dynamite comes in small packages.” She couldn’t have been taller than 5’4” but that never stopped the way she gracefully managed what seemed to be utter chaos around her. It was an absolute pleasure to work along side you Milenia, to see what the meaning of hard work and compassion is. I admire how the kids at Sox Place always flocked to you, to boast of their success or vent in times of hurt. I strive to be a woman in my community, where people feel they can always come to me for celebration or advice, and know that I am there for them, much like how you were always there for the kids here at Sox Place.
“Face, what an interesting name,” I thought to myself when I first stepped into Sox Place. Maybe I heard them wrong when they introduced me to him. Sure enough that was his name. Face is the type of person that just gets more rewarding to know as time goes on. He’s the quiet type when you first meet him, but as time went on I felt like I got a little bit closer to discovering more about his personality, funny, joyful, and full of life. However what was evident from beginning to end is that Face is one of the hardest working people I know. He never let me fill up the water jugs, he never let me take out trash, and he was always available when we had a donation drop off that needed to be moved inside. When you need help, Face is the kind of guy that will absolutely be by your side. While he worked at Sox Place, he also sometimes spent his mornings working construction across the street. I remember one of the first days I worked with him, he had been working construction all morning, and then helped around Sox Place for a while. Later that afternoon I found him sleeping on one of the dog beds underneath the foosball table. I thought to myself, if everyone worked hard enough to find a dog bed a place of solitude, we might live in a very different society. More than hardworking, Face has a huge heart. As the days began to grow colder he would ask if we could open a little early so that the babies outside could get warm. On Face and Milenias last weekend at Sox Place, I got a picture sent to me telling me a story about how Face gave this little guy his skateboard because his old one was sold by his Dad in order to pay for rent. It was those “little” acts of kindness that Face performed on the daily that really made me understand the kind of person he was.
I only worked with Face and Milenia and Jeebus for five months, and I hope that someday again I will get a chance to see them, and meet their little boy that’s due this spring. Thanks for being such a blessing in my life and making such an impact here at Sox Place. I already miss you guys so much but I know that your new adventure of starting a family will be a wonderful time in your life!
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!
There she was, sitting by the dumpster out by Sox Place holding her stomach and crying. I couldn’t help but have a breaking heart for her and wonder, what is her story? Why is she here, why is she homeless? Kat arrived in Denver last April weighing a healthy 175 Ibs, but as the year has gone on she found herself unable to hold down food and weighing 115 Ibs. She didn’t really realize anything was wrong with her weight until she finally put on clothes that she had worn back in April.
“I didn’t go to the hospital until one day I put on a skirt that I had made, that I wore when I first got here, and it was tight on me. I remember it lookin’ so good, and recently I put it on and I was holding it out in front of me and it fell off me completely. I could feel the bones in my chest and my hip bones. I’ve never felt those before. I’ve always been super healthy and chunky. Everyone on my Facebook thinks I’m on drugs, and they think I’m tweaked out because I’m so skinny. Most of them just say ‘well just eat more, smoke more weed and eat more.’ Everyone gives me all this advice and they have no clue that I throw up every time I eat and it sucks so bad, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” she said.
The twenty five year old traveler was diagnosed with chronic nausea a couple of weeks ago, and has a hard time eating without throwing up.
“It’s gotten so bad to where I really can’t keep my food down, so I have to go to the hospital, they put me on Phenergan drip and let me sleep for four hours so that I’m not nauseous the rest of the day. Then I can get some food in me,” she said.
As a traveler, Kat carries all her belongings on her back, and sleeps outside, and she has felt herself grow weak, and carrying her pack has become more difficult.
“Sometimes I have to leave my pack at Sox Place because I can’t pick my pack up. I pass out all over the place,” she said. “I don’t like hanging out with my friends anymore because I’m always complaining about something. They have to listen to me b**ch about everything. I think they don’t think I’m telling the truth. My boyfriend helps a lot, but he has to take care of both of us,” she said.
Kat wasn’t born homeless, but it did make me wonder, how does someone’s life get to be like this? There’s so many stigmas about homeless kids and travelers, but each person has their own story, just like you and me.
“I grew up in a really small town, where my grandparents raised me. My Dad never moved out of their house but he was a total crack head, all he does is sit around and smoke crack all day and sometimes he could be abusive. Eventually I gave an ultimatum to my grandparents that they either kick him out or I was gonna move out. He kept arguing with my grandma, which is really the only person who cares about me. So I left, and I ended up with this crazy guy who got addicted to coke and I ended up in Savannah at the rainbow gathering, which is a big traveling troop of hippies,” she said.
After a while, Kat got word that her Grandma had fallen into a depression due to her disappearance.
“I went back to my hometown because my grandma thought I was dead. My grandma was really sad and I didn’t like that. My little brother was sitting out on the porch blowing bubbles and when he saw me his eyes got huge and he ran out towards me, and I was like whoa he loves me. My Grandpa wouldn’t let me stay on the property, because I left home. So I was couch hoppin’ and that’s when I got addicted to opanas. I went full force, and got super high and super addicted to opioid’s and did that for two- two and a half years,” she said.
After a couple of years not having a place to sleep Kat got sick of the streets and didn’t want to sleep outside any longer. So she did what she could to get herself off of the streets by dancing.
“I became a stripper because I didn’t want to sleep outside anymore. I noticed all these girls on spring break, and I realized all these girls were flashing their boobs for beads, and I decided that I was gonna go get a hotel for the night. I became a dancer for two years and I got clean off drugs, in the strip club, I got completely clean. Then I met this guy who was a traveler, he was a dirty kid like me. We started hanging out and we were together for five years,” she said.
For the first time in a long time things started to look up for Kat.
“I graduated college as a motorcycle technician and I was doing pin up modeling, I got my picture in a magazine, and me and my boyfriend graduated college. Then we broke up about a year ago. He was really abusive. He got this really nice job and he was making like 50 bucks an hour and I wasn’t doing anything. I got a job at Taco Bell,” she laughed and shook her head. “He just started looking down on me. He was buying new shoes every two weeks because he could. I was in debt to him, his family became my family and if we broke up then I didn’t have a family. It was a weak point in my life, I was really pathetic and always begging. It was really sad. I did that for like five years and then we broke up, and I haven’t seen him for a year,” she said.
With sincerity in her eyes, Kat began to tell me about the sweetest guy she has ever met, who now is her boyfriend.
He’s the nicest boyfriend I’ve ever had in my whole life. He’s a traveler too, he’s got long red dreads, and he’s a squeegee punk, he’s very intelligent. He’s an intellect. He feels like the outcast in his family, since he’s the only one with red hair, but he can play the guitar really really good. We’re gonna go to Key West and get a boat. He cleans car windows at the red lights but he went to jail yesterday for the third time, it’s called aggressive pan handling. The people say no to getting their windows washed, but that’s what’s punk about it. They say no, and he’s like, listen… I’m just gonna clean your window and I’m gonna do it for free. And they’re like “No!” and then they call the cops,” she said.
“Yesterday I realized how much I need him, all my other friends did too. I ended up stuck by the river all day, because I couldn’t pick my pack up. I can’t get my friends to pick my pack up, and one of them got in my face and yelled at me, saying I couldn’t take care of my dogs. I’m just sick and tired. I take really good care of my dogs,” she said with tears welling up in her eyes, “I’m just really sick. I need my boyfriend because he doesn’t mind, he’ll help take care of them, because he’s their daddy. He doesn’t mind helpin’ me move my pack, because he loves me,” she said.
This is only the surface of what this young lady has gone through, but she’s trying her best to stay hopeful for the future. After years of traveling and being on the streets, Kat is ready for something different.
“I just want a place to stay, I would love my own bedroom, and a bathroom, so I can lay in bed. I want to go to Florida, after doing this for ten years, I’m tired of it.”
These are personal stories of kids that we serve at Sox Place. We want to educate the public and our supporters of the types of kids who need us and use our drop in center in Denver, Colorado. If you want to help us keep our building so that we can continue to speak into the lives and love the lost and broken please visit our donate page. We appreciate your support, and so do our kids.