Tag: street photography

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Puppy Love

Large orange pizza boxes piled high on the counters of Sox Place’s kitchen awaiting the flood of street kids and travelers that would be hungry for lunch. On Wednesday June 1, 2016 those big red doors opened like they often do and the stream of kids lined up for lunch grabbing cheese pizza by the slice donated from Little Cesar’s.

Free pizza was met with yet another treat. An animal clinic hosted by For the Love of Paws, a local rescue that has found it’s place partnering with Sox Place stepping up as our primary vet resource for all things pets.  Jen, the heart of the operations works around the clock for Sox Place and all our visiting pets, even though a year ago she admits that she was not interested in the partnership at all.

“We had never heard of Sox Place. I just knew that we did not have time,” said Jen. But Cindy from a non-profit called Favors Project who often donated collars and leashes to Sox Place didn’t give up on her. Eventually Jen agreed to meet with Jordan Robinson and got a tour of Sox Place. Little did she know what she was in for.

For the Love of Paws

After talking for several hours and witnessing the multitude of kids and pets, Jen couldn’t say no.  “I remember coming here for the first time and just being blown away by this place,” said Jen, “It was different than what every other rescue was doing, and we were trying to find our place in rescue.”

For the Love of Paws was on the hunt for a mission that fueled their fire and took rescue a step further from the amazing work of just pulling animals from shelters. “Our hearts wanted more, and we found it the minute I walked in the door here,” said Jen.

Megan Brocato, another key player For the Love of Paws recalled getting a phone call after Jen’s meeting with Jordan. The memories played back in her head like an old record, “I remember Jen calling me and just saying ‘This is what we need to do, and I need you to be on bored,’ recalled Megan. Just a week later they both found themselves being engulfed by the missions at Sox Place.

By 4:00 P.M. last Wednesday the team of volunteers had served eleven dogs and two cats, treating them with a series of vaccines, distemper, and even microchips. This basic and yet necessary care can often cost a pet owner a good chunk of change, and yet they offered the whole clinic for free.

Froto and Mocha

 According to a 2014 article off CBS money watch, Americans spend $55.7 billion dollars on their pets annually for all costs. Later in the article it reports that  $14.37 billion dollars were spent just on veterinary care.

For the Love of Paws works around the clock networking and fundraising for Sox Place and the pets that are passing through those big red doors. “We have donors and grants that are specifically for Sox Place and Best Pets and (C.A.R.E) sponsored this clinic. There are people behind us that are behind you guys.”

Colorado Animal Rescue Express (C.A.R.E.) and Best Pets have been significant donors of both clinics, medical needs and ongoing efforts at Sox Place.

For the Love of Paws not only helps provide dog and cat food, leashes and coats, but also has connections with groups that are ready to pick up any spay and neuter costs that come out of Sox Place. One of the dogs that was treated was a black momma Pit Bull who happened to be super sick. Jen kneeled down in front of the dog owner with her hair pulled back in a ponytail behind a ball cap. After having a very hard conversation with the owner, they agreed the dog would receive urgent care the next day, expenses paid for.

“She’s going to the vet tomorrow,” Jen said shaking her head. “Jeff is going to do what needs to be done on her and the best part is that it’s totally paid for, that dog needs serious medical attention,” said Jen with passion in her eyes.

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When Jen and Megan started this rescue a year ago, they approached Jeff Baier to come on board, who is the designated Veterinarian for the clinic.

“We knew we needed to get him and we didn’t even have to convince him to do it, he just said yes right away. He is a blessing to us,” said Jen.  Jeff is a Vet at Planned Pethood Plus and get’s Jen’s emergency rescues into a very busy clinic. “We could not do what we do without him. The pit bull is in tomorrow, which otherwise would have taken just 24 hours to get a phone call back,” said Jen.

While working in rescue for animals and pet owners can be rewarding, there are lots of difficult conversations and decisions that Jen and Megan are faced with. While spending time at Sox Place, there have been times where Jen felt the need to step in to a dog or cats life and help make the owner make a choice that both benefits the animal as well as the owner. “There was a puppy that I met here and I told the kid, this one’s got to go, because she’s not going to make it,” said Jen remembering those agonizing times.

Starshine and her pup

Those hard decisions don’t stop at the door of Sox Place either. When a dog out of Sox Place ends up in a shelter Jen is often faced with the choice of leaving them there to be adopted to a new family or to put them back on the street. Back in the hands of a street kid.

Only a few weeks ago one of Sox Place’s kids was approached by Jen for this exact reason. Jessica, an owner of black lab as well as four other pets had her hands full. Jen recognized the lab to be a great animal and eventually asked Jessica to let him go to a home.

“I like Jessica she’s one of those kids that just knows that she couldn’t do it anymore. It was too much. Those are hard choices that we have to make, and she wants to do right for her animals. That’s the kind of kid that we love working with because the want to do the right thing.” said Jen.

There are so many stories and special relationships at Sox Place between a human and their pet. After working in rescue there’s a lot of terrible things that they witness happen to animals but they admit that these kids are not the ones abusing their pets. “That’s their soul pet, their life, their buddy. They’re not going to abuse their animal. I see a greater appreciation for their animals from these kids,” said Jen.

Tabs and Nugget

Pets can play a big role in a persons life and we are so grateful for our friends at For The Love of Paws and all that they do to support Sox Place and our pets. If you believe in what they are doing for Sox Place please consider visiting their Facebook page. We are so excited to see how this friendship will continue to grow between us.

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I met “Clutch” the beginning of October when the air was still warm and many travelers were making plans to get out of Denver before the air turned brisk and cold, much like how it is this morning as I write this post.  He came off as tough, a little on edge, due to how the day was pan  ning out, but incredibly intelligent and driven.  He approached me when he noticed my camera sitting in my lap. We got to talking and he asked if I would take his photo so that he could send it to his family, and let them know he was okay. Of course I jumped at the chance and I began to ask him about his life story.

“I was born in South Carolina and then we moved to Rochester NY near Syracuse, and I lived there until I was 10 years old. But then my Grandfather passed away and we moved down to Florida: my Mom, Dad, two sisters and brother. I lived down there pretty much ever since 1998. My golden years were spent down there. Elementary school, Middle school, High school, well for the time that I was in High School,” he said.
Clutch eventually enrolled in online school and graduated early with a 4.0. Although society typically applauds students who can accomplish school early by labeling them “driven” and bound for success, Clutch believes that due to his early success, he found himself in more trouble.

“I wasn’t really too thrilled with school so I homeschooled myself and finished early. It’s both a curse and a blessing at the same time. I got done with school but I had so much time on my hands, I ended up just ripping and running the streets without any care. I’m kinda doing the same thing now, I’m just a little bit smarter,” he said with a laugh.

Having that much free time, he quickly found himself leading a life that eventually lead right to prison.

“I was put in a juvenile program when I was 17 and then got out a couple years after. But when I was 19 I went to prison for aggravated battery with a weapon for bodily harm and a strong arm robbery. I got set up basically” he said. “I was selling drugs, and there was a dude who wasn’t happy with my services. So he made up a bunch of lies to his wife’s brother who was a sheriff and he got me roped off. I was stupid, young and naive and I spoke too much when the police came to question me about it, I sealed my own fate. I was young and stupid. I’ll be 26 this month, so I’ve done a lot of growing up.”

Although he’s spent a good portion of his young adult life in the prison system, Clutch claims he tried to make the best of his time.

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“I got my degree while I was in prison. I went to prison pretty young, I was 19 years old and got out when I was 23, and I tried to make the best of my time. People would get involved in politics and the negatives of prison. I just wanted to work in the kitchen, workout, eat and go to school. I made the best of it.  Unfortunately studying horticulture turned out not to be really a lucrative career choice but it made me knowledgable, I’m sure I can use it in a couple different fields of work. Plus I can not just grow my food, but I can tend to livestock too.  I can basically generate my own homestead if I wanted to. Plus since I lived in Florida I’ve had a lot of landscaping experience, so I can do all sorts of tree work and construction.  I could pretty much build a house from the ground up.”

Although Clutch has had no serious felony trouble since 2010, when I had spoken with him he had just gotten out of jail after spending a month in Salida for driving on a revoked license and not going to court for the ticket, so his next step is to get back home to Florida.

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“My whole family is out there…I’ll probably catch a train out of here with some friends or maybe by myself. I’m headed back that direction because that’s where I want to be. Well it’s not really where I want to be, but that’s where I need to be. Get my life back on track ya know, so I can come back out here. I originally came out to Colorado because I was cultivating marijuana and it was really cool and very profitable, kinda thought I’d be able to do it again when I came back out and it just backfired on me. I’m really starting from nothing right now,” he said.

Sox Place is a place where street kids, travelers and gutter punks can be “okay.” It’s a place where they can gather themselves after time in prison or even just a tough day out on the streets, and re-plan their strategy for life.  Many times I have seen kids walk in knowing almost no one and be embraced by the community here as one of their own with little to no judgment. I haven’t seen Clutch since that warm October day, so I’m hoping he made it to Florida and has been reunited with his family.

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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.

Dirty Kid Kat

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.

Kat Close Up

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.

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Today our friends Harley and Wolf and their dog Scottie are leaving us after calling the streets of Denver their “home” for the last three years. They are leaving today to a knew home in Iowa, where they will finally be off the streets, working, and beginning a new life.  All of us at Sox Place will keep you in our thoughts and prayers and pray for  progression and an abundant life!

 

Love,

Sox Place

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Sox Place is a non profit drop in center for the street youth in Denver, or for those just passing through.  We provide services like a hot meal, clean clothes, and a place to find refuge from the harsh world. If you believe in our mission please donate to keep our doors open for kids that need services like this. Or when you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Sox Place Inc. Bookmark this link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/73-1718252 and support us every time you shop.

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“I don’t know where I am at in my life,  I work in the deli. I’m a sandwich slave, I sold my soul to capitalism. I tell myself that it’s worth it because I’m saving up for a hippy van and I want to continue my travels. There is a lot of places in the world I want to see, actually I made a list earlier today, but it’s not done. Yellow Stone National Park is first. I went there when I was a kid, my parents took me and my two sisters on a cross country trip and we stopped there and it was just really beautiful. I remember thinking that it was unreal, except I was seeing it with my eyes, so you know its real, but it’s just so majestic. I want to go back there, now that I am a photographer and I’m older and appreciate nature and natural beauty.”

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Last Friday Sox Place was blessed by the presence of organizations, Favor’s Project and For the Love of Paws Rescue, who ended up making a difference in the lives of street kids and their pets.  By the end of the day Twenty-two pets received vaccinations, deworming, and treatment for fleas and ticks and a check up provided by Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Barin.  Dog baths were provided by Chuck and Don’s Pet store from Lakewood and there was additional help from DMK rehoming and The San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society.

The teams of volunteers unpacked their vehicles full of boxes containing mass amounts of dog food, leashes, collars, and doggy treats. For the Love of Paws provided all the vaccines that would be given to the dogs and one very brave cat.

“If these kids went to a vet and asked for vacs, this is everything that they would get,” said Jenn with For the Love of Paws.

The doors opened at noon, but many of the kids began gathering in the back, dogs in hand, as early as 9:00 a.m. waiting for the green light to grab food and sign their loyal companions up for a day of care.

Nancy from San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society met each dog and owner, getting them on the waiting list to get in to see the doc.

Many of these dogs are on the road, or haven’t had the vaccines they need due to the lack of education and cost, leaving their pets vulnerable for infection and disease.  The volunteers were a beacon of hope in the lives of these homeless pet owners by providing 100% free love and care.

Dogs are very common for street kids to have.  As a pet owner myself, I understand that a dog or cat is not just a furry face, they become family members.  Dogs are a fountain of unconditional love and loyalty when treated well, and many of these kids have never experienced that kind of treatment from the families they were born into, so it’s no surprise that dogs are so common among the homeless youth.

Records and documentation of the updated treatment for the pets were kept and handed out to each one of their owners. All the volunteers were so well informed and answered a lot of questions that these kids had about proper treatment.

There’s no doubt the genuine love and compassion that all the volunteers felt for both our street kids and their pets.

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This past month has been full, the kind of full that makes you want to just take a nap and hope all the obligations and appointments go away when you wake up.  My days fly by reminding me of a game I would play when I was a child. Spinning round and round until the colors were blurred and my feet began to wobble, I recall hitting the ground as I lost complete balance and I would watch as the room would continue to spin and I would wait for my eyes to catch up with the room. I would sit and wait calmly before getting up, for I knew if I stood up too quickly I would just fall back down again.

Do you ever find yourself caught in a storm of a day that leaves your soul spinning, or a week, perhaps even several months at a time?  When seasons of “busy” wash on to the shore of your life, where nothing seems to be slowing down, hours seem to pass in a blink of an eye and before you know it you’re playing catch up with life.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon  you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

I feel as if the control over my life is slowly slipping through my fingers, and that’s scary, because I don’t know what will happen if I let go. Maybe it’s not a matter of letting go, perhaps it’s a matter of prioritizing.

It’s important to know and understand what should take precedent in life, and for me personally, it’s important to understand what Jesus says about where my priorities need to be.  I have my relationship with Christ, fueling hope, to ground me, to keep my world from spinning, but it’s a matter of letting my legs fall and rest in the life of Christ.

Some of the kids here at Sox Place find their grounding in music, art, or hope for money to come, and for some kids, their grounding place is Sox Place, when their life has been flipped, or their tired of traveling. What do you hope for? What grounds you when life begins to spin?

“Hope for the future, hope that I get to be in an apartment again, the hope that at some point I’ll finish my art, my music. My friends keep holding me up, relationships help me stay strong…” said Emmanuel. He had his circumstances changed too quickly, and has now ended up on the streets.

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“For three years I had control over my situation and all of a sudden I lost my place and my mother, and it was just too much,” said Emmanuel.

For Brian, another one of our friends, music is what moves him, grounds him, and gives him purpose. He’s always happy to be here and share different songs that he’s working on, even when he only has three strings on his guitar.

“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10 years old, music is what keeps me hopeful,” said Brian.

When times get dizzying, and hope becomes scarce, Sox Place is here to be a landing place for street kids. A place to find rest and solitude. It’s a place that street kids and travelers can sit and wait for the room to quit spinning, before trying to stand again.

Would you like to help give to Sox Place, but don’t know where to start? Here’s a couple of ways you can benefit our drop in center for street youth in Denver!

Buy our merch: http://www.soxplace.bigcartel.com/

Donate directly: http://soxplace.com/donate/

Shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Sox Place Inc. Bookmark the linkhttp://smile.amazon.com/ch/73-1718252 and support us every time you shop.

 

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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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There’s not many places I like to be without my camera. Maybe that’s because my Dad always had a camera in his hands, always snapping pictures, trying to be the invisible fly one the wall, but at six-foot-seven-inches, being invisible is pretty close to impossible.  He taught me how to hold my camera, focus, point, click, and capture.  Overtime I grew attached to my camera, because I too loved feeling like a fly on the wall.

Still a bit nervous and feeling like the “new girl” interning at Sox Place, it becomes very comfortable for me to whip out my camera and begin snapping and shooting away, capturing emotions and people that fill the four walls that houses Sox Place. These are the people I want to tell others about, these are the faces that are teaching me about life, life that is hard, but life that is worth living.  This week I had my camera out, hiding my face behind the bulky body and capturing life here at Sox Place.

Mellow, one of the frequent visitors began to ask me about my interest in photography.  I don’t claim myself a professional but I was happy to show off some of the action shots I had captured that afternoon. Quickly, Mellow began digging through the pack claiming to have something to show me.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but then Mellow whipped out a red package with white polka dots, housing and protecting little printed photographs. I reached out to ask if I could look closer at the photographs.  They were all little moments that were telling a greater story of travel and being unsure about the future.  One photograph was an image of a street sign in New Orleans and on the back it was captioned “Left…or Right?”

It must have been obvious that I was sincerely interested in the photo with the street sign, as Mellow began to speak “You can have one if you would like, take whichever one is your favorite.” I felt my mouth kind of drop and shoot a look that must have begged the question “are you sure?” This small gift, a simple photograph, changed the rest of my week, as I’m sitting here and writing about it!

The people that come to Sox Place don’t have very much.  They have what they need, and what they can carry on their person or back.  Many of them come to Sox Place to get necessities that they have run out of.  Even in their simplicity of living with necessities, Mellow still decided to be giving.  I hope  I never forget that moment, and currently I have the photograph gifted to me, in a special place so that I see it every day.  What a beautiful reminder that even when I feel that I have little, there’s always something to give, big or small, you never know the weight or impact that gift will make in the life of the receiver.

It’s amazing to me that people that have so little, can still be so giving.  Yet there are so many in this world that are well off and comfortable amongst their belongings that won’t give, or only give little. Humbled by Mellow’s gift, I reflect on Luke 21:1-4

Jesus1 looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

 

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If you would like to give to Sox Place, but you don’t know where to start, take a look at our Merch Store! When you buy from us, it helps keep our doors open, and continue to make a difference in lives that need to be shown love, forgiveness, grace.  Plus you get a Sox Place swag. Win Win! We appreciate and love all donations made to Sox Place, comment below if you have any questions!

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