Tag: Youth

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Volunteer Spotlight

Doyle Robinson can’t remember the exact amount of years that Valerie Biggs has been volunteering for Sox Place but he does recall the exact chain of events and the network of people that brought her here.

Regardless of Doyle’s memory, three years ago Valerie recalls being introduced to Sox Place.  A friend of hers had told her that Doyle would take all of her food donations and so she found her way down here to donate some extra food she had on hand. However, when she arrived she realized they needed more than just her food donations.

“I walked in and thought that Doyle was in desperate need of someone to help organize the food pantry and the donations that came in,” she said.

A once unorganized Sox Place was blessed by Valerie and her friend Michelle. “I felt like I couldn’t walk away from the project of straightening and organizing, and I really wanted to help make everything easier on Doyle and the staff on a regular basis,” said Valerie.

Doyle and Jordan were up to their ears with other concerns and didn’t have time to keep the pantry organized when new donations came flooding in. But Valerie stepped in and has made a big impact by volunteering regularly to organize.

“She knows why she’s here and she does what Jordan and I are not good at,” said Doyle.  “To me volunteers should fill in the gaps and do the things that we aren’t great at or don’t have the time to spend on.”

Volunteering for Sox Place not only made a big difference in the effectiveness of operations and organization but it has also touched Valerie in a way that keeps bringing her back.

“Every time I go in to volunteer or I’m reading the Sox Place blog I am humbled and reminded how easily I could have been one of the kids at Sox Place. Although my husband and I have a great life together now, our adolescent experiences aren’t much different than those who receive services from Sox Place. It is an honor to give my assistance to everyone who walks through the doors,” she said.

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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
    foof-1
    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
    Sox 06
    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!


    Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

  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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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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