Well, I had an episode in my life when I was homeless and down on my luck. Thrown out from wherever I was staying and I ended up [in the homeless community]. I ran into a few individuals that, a few were homeless and some weren’t, they were bringing the StreetWise news and they were informing me of an alternative way to live. And they informed me StreetWise was an alternative to pull me up by my own boot straps. I did great. Easily, I liked it better than panhandling. I’m not a cup shaker, I don’t like a person shaking a cup. Everyone has their own way of making a living, but it gave me a sense of not begging. I enjoyed that. I’m talkative and I’m a people person, so I didn’t have a problem telling people what the magazine is about. Everybody was congratulating me and I felt better about myself.Where do you currently vend?
I’m in the area of the Board of Trade and the Chicago Board of Options exchange.
I understand you’re in school and learning photography skills…
I’m taking classes at the Discovery Center. Discovery Center is at 2855 Lincoln for people who don’t have time to go to school semester after semester. They offer all types of courses, like horse back riding and skiing. I take photography. [I’d like to let] vendors know that if it’s something they want to do, you can find this at the Discovery Center. You could flip through the pamphlet and see what courses you might want to take. I’ve taken two photography courses and a trader awareness class, which was free. They offer free classes and classes with a fee, which are reasonable. Some of my work, if possible, I would like StreetWise to feature to give vendors and my customers a view of what I’m doing with my life. Thanks to StreetWise and my supporters, I’m able to continuously upgrade myself with something positive and constructive with things I really like doing with my life.
What are some of your hobbies?
I like to jog. Keep myself in fit and in shape. The cardiovascular therapy of jogging is tremendous. It makes you strong physically. You burn up these excess fats, carbs, sugars, and salts. You pretty much keep up a clean health slate by jogging. You don’t have to be a Jesse Owens, you can do it in a run/walk. Your body tells you you’re tired, then you can walk and start jogging again. It keeps you sharp. I like body building, but I haven’t done any of that in about three years. I do my pushups though. My leg raises to keep my stomach tough. You know, like a washboard. Six pack. I like being fit.
What has your StreetWise experience taught you?
It’s taught me the value of doing for self. It’s helped my entrepreneurial skills and self pride. Self worth. It has, it gives me that. You know? It’s taught me also how to talk to people better. If one thing doesn’t work, then you work on your pitch. Meaning the same thing, but in a better way. Speaking, my articulation and confidence in self. I’m even more warming and understanding toward people.
Felicia Nichols & Brittany Langmeyer
StreetWise Intern & StreetWise Publisher