Our Vendors 

Percy Smith: Reflections after 20 years of StreetWise

Tue, Nov 12, 2013

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It’s been a lovely year, which started out with me being the StreetWise Vendor of the Year for 2012. I thought that was a great honor and it’s been uphill ever since.

The Lifesavers substance abuse support group celebrated nine years on July 15 and I celebrated 15 years of sobriety on August 4. Every Thursday at 1 p.m. we do Lifesavers and it’s open to anybody who wants to come. And Lifesavers, we’re small, but I’ve seen people from all over the world. I mean, people have come from London, Iran, Japan, Germany… we really do have an international support system. So in the world, we’re known. And it’s a wonderful thing to just be a part of it.

On Tuesday, November 5 we will be hosting a Speakathon. I think this is going to be a great event for us and hopefully people will learn where StreetWise is, what we’re about and hopefully we’ll gain more support.

StreetWise is celebrating 20 years and we’ve got a great staff working here. The benevolent spirit of people helping people to live is one thing that I hold so dear to my heart, but I still believe that StreetWise is a program initiated by God, because 20 years is a lot of time and most non-profit organizations fold. We’ve had our battles, but we’re still standing. I just appreciate StreetWise for what it is and what it does and it’s of immeasurable worth.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the staff. Suzanne Hanney, our Editor-In-Chief, and Brittany Langmeyer, our Publisher. These people do a wonderful job getting the magazine out every week.

The other thing is that StreetWise offers comprehensive social service support. You can come out here and get the help you need. Sarah Brown, our Director of Social Services, and her interns do a great job with that.

Being a StreetWise vendor is a wonderful job. I understand that the work we do is not for everybody, but the StreetWise soldiers go to the streets and sell the magazines rain, sleet or snow, cold or hot. Not everyone can do that. We’re always out there, selling our magazines. The biggest thing is that we’re not just existing, we’re growing. There are more vendors this year than last year. There are more people selling more magazines.

StreetWise is also a good job in general. You have to have people skills. You have to have some communication skills and sales skills. And you have to have some accounting skills because you have to count your money so that you know how many papers to buy. As Greg says, plot, plan and strategize. So it’s not just as easy as going out and selling some magazines. There’s a lot of work that goes into it.

To my personal supporters, thank you. You’ve helped me take care of my family and it’s a wonderful life that you’ve helped me live.

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