Our Vendors 

Winter Tales

Mon, Mar 23, 2015

Renee Ducksworth

Hi! My name is Renee. I am a StreetWise vendor. I am friendly, kind and I like talking to people. I love sweet fruit, coffee and tea.
I am always talking to people. I work from 3 to 6:30 pm, or even later if the weather is nice outside.

Oscar Montoya
In my free time I like to watch live sports and talk to people. I would like to have more time to study and learn about history. I like to play the piano and would like to learn how to play the piano better. I also like to play soccer and baseball. I have fun with my friends and I enjoy watching movies.
It is important to me to have lots of friends and different kinds of people in my life. I want to learn how to communicate with different kinds of people because this will help me learn to be open minded. If I am more open minded I will be able to learn more about life. I would like to help other people too, but in order to help people, I need to be able to communicate with them.
Everyday I wake up and I pray that I will have a good day. But sometimes it is hard for me to talk to customers. They often seem very different from me. We have prejudices about each other that may not be true. Even though I am trying to be more open minded, I do not always know how to communicate with someone who seems different from me. When I do not know what to say, I just try to smile. When I smile people seem more comfortable, and then, if they want to, they can come and buy a StreetWise magazine from me.
My vendor location is in Evanston, at Sherman and Church.

John Hagan
How to Beat the Wintertime Sales Blues
Chicago has a history of blizzards and extreme, bitter-cold weather in the wintertime.
I am concerned with helping StreetWise vendors find ways to improve their winter season sales in spite of the cold weather.
The best solution is to come to writing workshop on Mondays at 11:30 am. StreetWise writing workshop helps vendors improve their sales and gain recognition from their customers. They build community with other writing workshop members and are able to communicate and discuss their articles with customers.
It is harder to stay outside to sell magazines in the cold weather, especially if vendors do not dress warmly enough. Lots of extra layers of clothing, hats, boots, gloves, hand warmers and applying Vaseline to exposed skin helps vendors tolerate the weather for longer stretches of time.
I hope these tips help vendors sell their magazines despite the cold and snowy conditions during the wintertime in Chicago.

A Allen

This has been a particularly tough winter in Chicago. Several acquaintances I knew, friends of mine, who lived on the street died on the street. These were people that many of us passed many days of the week, right in downtown Chicago. I have asked myself, how could this happen?
I tried to help these people. I brought them blankets, I tried to call emergency shelter to pick them up, I suggested options. Often they did not want help.
I have learned this winter from these experiences to reflect back on the times when I was too proud to accept help. There were times when I thought I could do it alone and would not accept help from anybody. During these prideful and stubborn times I would assure the people around me that I had everything under control. I learned the hard way, through trial and error that I was not in control.
When I learned to put pride away and be more humble, I was able to accept help when it was offered. Then I was able to build community, to network and accomplish positive things.
I do think it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of each other. We need to see when people need help and to offer what is needed to the needy. I have learned that ” I AM my brother’s keeper.” But I have also learned that offering help is not enough. The help we offer to each other needs to be accepted. In order to accept help, people need to be able to admit to themselves that they need help.
Some of the friends I lost, the people we all lost on the streets of Chicago this year, were not able to accept help that was offered. We need to continue to offer help and to find a way to help each other know that accepting help is not a sign of failure or weakness. Accepting help may save your life.

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