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.
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.”
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.
“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-
Please join us in supporting an upcoming fundraising event for Sox Place!
Date: August 18th
Time: 11AM – 10PM
Where: Watercourse Foods, 837 E. 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218
Bring a guest (or 2!) and stop in for lunch or dinner – all proceeds will go directly to Sox Place, but we need your help to reach our goal.
Reservations are suggested: 303-832-7313
Doyle Robinson and Jordan Robinson, Founders of Sox Place, will be on site to share their story.
Please help us get the word out – promote socially!
More information about Sox Place:
Sox Place was started in 2002 by father-son team, Doyle and Jordan Robinson. Doyle began his ministry by handing out socks to street youth on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. He was soon given the street name “Sox” and opened up a daytime youth drop-in center shortly after. We have been open for twelve years and continue to grow every year. We are only able to continue to serve our youth and to keep our doors open with the help of individuals like you. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation, click here.
We hope to see you there!
We recently worked with The Lion Project in creating a new video about Sox Place. Watch the video below:
It has been busy as always at Sox Place, and we have run out of coffee to brew for our kids. Coffee is a great way for our youth to warm up after a cold night out on the streets. If you have ground coffee that you would like to donate, feel free to drop by our location at 2017 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80205 Tuesday through Friday between 9:30 and 4:00, and Saturdays between 9:30 and 2:00.
A huge thank you to everyone who has donated previously. We are fully stocked on nearly all of our staples, including food, clothing, and even dog food! We cannot keep our doors open without the support of amazing people like you.
Feel free to email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since being hired as an intern at Sox Place Screen Printing, our new Streets2Stability intern, Mike, has shown promising results. He can now print a job completely on his own from start to finish and has been producing high-quality prints since day one. It has been a pleasure having him on as an intern, and we hope to see this trend continue as we start giving him more responsibility and room to grow. Mike has been able to develop more patience and hopes to be able to help others exit life on the streets through his position at Sox Place Screen Printing.
As we work to expand our small shop, we hope to gain more connections and customers, and ultimately hope to be able to fully financially support our non-profit drop-in center, Sox Place, with no dependence on outside funding. We are striving to grow our business in order to employ more street youth and provide them with the tools they need to conquer homelessness. We know that we are only just beginning our journey towards this dream, but we know that anything is possible, and we will continue to strive toward becoming fully self-sustaining.