How did you find StreetWise?
I was looking for jobs and I was getting frustrated when I couldn’t find one. My main goal was to get my son back [from child services]. It was a worthless life before StreetWise, but now I’m definitely living. [I found StreetWise when] a friend of mine handed me a flyer. I went to orientation and decided to give it a chance. Once I got to StreetWise, I liked it. I’ve been pretty consistent ever since then.
What have you learned from your StreetWise experience?
I’ve learned different marketing skills and ideas, creating my own as well. [I’ve learned] how to build up my self-esteem and confidence and I try to always be consistent with my job. And I’ve learned, despite my personal problems, that this is a job and I’m working for StreetWise. I’m proud to be working for StreetWise and considering it a real job. It’s not just panhandling. I’ve learned to take advantage of the opportunities I’ve been given; I have lunch here, use the computers, and social services. I take great advantage of the services here and use them to the best of my ability.
Talk about your son. What have you learned from him?
His name is Darryl and he is very much smart, very intelligent. He is shy, but after awhile, he warms up to people. He’s very active. He’s a blessing. He’s 5 and a half years old and I’m very much proud of him. I’m hoping for him to be more involved in my life as the years go by. In the future, I would like to provide for him and get more visits with him than just three times a year, honestly.
How is StreetWise a family to you?
I feel at home and most of the people are respectful of me. They make me feel comfortable. Some help me with things and others do their own thing. There are times where you have to be tough and I understand that. The other vendors push me. A tough push and it helps me out. I need that toughness for encouragement, especially when I’m feeling down and out or lazy. Something to that matter.
What are your hobbies?
I like to go out to movies and hang out with my friends. Sit at home and watch television. I like to be on the computer and if it’s nice out I like to go out to the parks and walk around. I like to go out to Navy Pier or Great America when it’s nice out. If I do work a little too hard or do some overtime, I do like to relax at home.
What programs are you involved in at StreetWise?
The Writers Workshop. It’s a group of people where you can just write down what you’re feeling or there’s a topic to write about. It’s kind of like creative writing.
Felicia Nichols & Brittany Langmeyer
StreetWise Intern & StreetWise Staff