Our Vendors 

Sera Allen: Keeping happy and healthy each day

Thu, Sep 4, 2014

1 Sera Allen has been with StreetWise for almost two years and is a stable vendor in Chicago’s Lake View and Lincoln Park area. Sera loves to talk to others about the little things in life that keep us all happy and healthy.

Where do you usually vend?
I vend on Diversey and Broadway – right next to Trader Joe’s. I have a lot of sentiments toward the customers and the customers who shop at Trader Joe’s; toward the ones who support me and even the ones who don’t sup¬port me. I just get great joy with having conversations with them.

What do you guys usually talk about?
They sometimes will start the conversation and some¬times I will start the conversation, usually we just talk. I feel that I can genuinely talk to them. I feel like I can really connect to some of the customers. We talk about what we did over the weekend, or what they are plan¬ning on doing that day. I’m just so happy that they are talking to me – they are making me feel like I matter. Sometimes I get choked up talking about how grateful I am toward the people here. I just want to grab them and hug them, but that wouldn’t be appropriate. I have to keep it professional.

How has StreetWise affected your life?
StreetWise has been such a big help for me. It has allowed me to assume a title and I know that it is a ven¬dor’s title, but I have a title and I’ve had titles before, but nothing that meant something to me. The reason that it means something for me is because I’m helping to heal people. I’ve been through a lot – a whole lot. I can relate to some of the street vendors, others I can’t.

It has helped me as far as being able to initiate a schedule, to become more work-oriented. What I do is I have a schedule, with the days of the week, just like if I had a job and the employer gave me a schedule. What I have formulated is a sheet of paper, and I place my hours on there and what I have to do. I implement the schedule for myself. So, even though I know it might not be important for other people, I concentrate on what it does for me – It makes me feel really good getting out there and talking to others and understanding other people’s lives.

So what do you think about when you wake up every morning?
Someone who is looking forward to seeing me. Dur¬ing my life, there were people who wanted to run away from me. In the past, I had a whole lot of health issues. I feel good just standing on my corner and selling Street¬Wise. Now, I look forward to talking to others and having them ask me, “Sera, how are you doing today?” They are genuinely glad to see me. For many years, I gave up on people, and they gave up on me. So when people look forward to seeing me, I am truly happy. I am earn¬ing an honest living for me and my family. I am making things happen and changing my own life because of the opportunities that StreetWise has given me. I will never take things for granted.

Justin Jia
StreetWise Editorial Intern

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