Posted by StreetWise in Vendor Profiles
It was 20 years ago this month that Vadii Ellis first began his work at StreetWise. He has been at StreetWise since it opened in Chicago in 1992. His positive attitude and friendly nature brings customers back for more every week. Vadii currently vends in front of the Walgreens on Clark and Belden. His experience vending has been beneficial and has created a sense of hope for a man who has faced many challenges in his life.
One of Vadii’s biggest challenges was getting back into the flow of society after he was released from the penitentiary for non-violent offenses. Trying to adjust from having a roof over his head, three meals a day and a bed to sleep in in jail to having nothing when you get out is a struggle that many individuals like Vadii face after being released.
“You do what you have to do to survive,” Vadii said.
Vadii faced many challenges while trying to survive such as hunger and having no place to call home. According to Vadii, his dedication to this company and his growth since his harder days have helped in preventing him from going back on a path of wrongdoing.
Another challenge Vadii is currently struggling with is his recent diagnosis of arthritis. A former athlete, Vadii really struggles between his love for sports and his inability to play due to his arthritis. Another one of the main struggles that he – along with many others in today’s economy has – is the inability to get a job. He stated that despite the fact that he has more experience and knowledge than some young potential competition, he still struggles to find a job. He has applied at places that he knows he does not want to work at but applied anyways.
“If people with degrees and an education can’t even get a job, then there is no chance for me!” Vadii then discussed how the President can try and make a change in the job market by presenting new ideas or new positions, but that the public has to be open to these changes. Despite these setbacks, Vadii continues to have a smile on his face and a hopeful attitude towards life.
One of Vadii’s short-term goals is to get his own place in order to gain some stability in his life. The best piece of advice that Vadii has ever received is if he continues on the right path that everything will fall into place, which has been true so far. These days Vadii says that he is not hurting for anything and that things are truly falling into place for this once unlucky guy.
By Kayla Kiely