While I stand in the cold distributing One Step Away, I know tomorrow brings success. Never alone. With two other brothers striving for a difference, we work for the same dream. My younger brother Kyriq is the most ambitious, positive individual in my circle. His encouragement and push has really kept me motivated through my storms in life. I remember when Kyriq and I were 8 and 7 years old, selling candy for small change. We always discussed different ideas on how we could get ahead. My brother Ralph is highly intelligent and dedicated. Ralph has had a big impact on my life by encouraging me to read and write. Reading and writing have become a hobby for me over the past few years.
I’ve always been into drawing and putting my words into a picture. Since I’ve started writing I’ve been able to reach out to many people through my articles in One Step Away. I remember changing Ralph’s diapers, I remember him looking up to me. Now it’s me, him and Kyriq catching the train on cold rainy days. We were never crabs in a bucket; we always motivated one another. The three of us kept high expectations and believed in success. We stuck together and helped each other through whatever obstacle we’d face.
I want to start out by saying thank you to all our One Step Away customers for your generosity and hospitality. It means a lot to me and I am so thankful for all of you! You continue to brighten up my day when it seems nothing can. I don’t even have the words to explain how thankful I am.
You make me feel better about myself and give me hope that one day I will end up back in school and in a house with my boyfriend starting our family doing everything we need to do. I don’t know what I would do without One Step Away right now in my life, and I am so very grateful to work for such a respected company and that truly helps the homeless who want to work for their money and lets us be the voice of the paper!
When most people think about homelessness they tend to think about the physical aspect of it. Simply not being able to afford a place to live. But the issue of being homeless can sometimes run deeper than that.
Overcoming homelessness also involves a person’s ability to fulfill themselves inside by rebuilding one’s confidence that was once lost, and overcoming fear. Overcoming fear can sometimes mean leaving your comfort zone and trying new things that you never thought were possible. One Step Away has given me the ability to do these things.
By One Step Away’s editorial board
One of the most rewarding things about publishing One Step Away is that we’ve heard, and tried to tell, so many stories about people in our community doing amazing work. There are heroes among us, living right next door, changing the world every day in ways large and small, with little fanfare and few thanks.
That’s why we began the Steppy Awards, to recognize people working to end homelessness and make the world around them a better place, bit by little bit.
Before my experience working for One Step Away, I thought I understood the issues that were happening in the homeless community. I felt like a lot of the people who made the choice to sleep and actually live outside on the street had given up on life itself. In some instances that is the case, but some others just can’t seem to find the help and resources they need.
When you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, there are not many places you can go. This time of year most shelters are full, but because of the weather they take people in at night and put them on cots on the floor. The problem with this is they let them in late and kick them out early. That leaves a person with nowhere to go and hours that they have to spend wandering in the cold. The resting place is just that, so they also leave as dirty as they were when they came in.
I became involved with One Step Away around this time in 2012, when I was trying to get through the holidays. Working with One Step Away, I’m able to provide for myself now – but the holidays alway makes me remember a time when I used to have to beg for food.
Around the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, I was hungry and struggling to find food. So, I had taken to meandering outside of some of the local restaurants in Center City to ask people for their boxes of leftovers. I liked this compared to asking people to buy me food, because the food was always better and it took a lot less time to get something.
I suppose this was something I pulled from experiences I had in the restaurant industry, where people would ask for things they couldn’t eat to be packaged — and then left it on the table. My best guess is they were full and didn’t want to carry a bag home with them – like they wouldn’t miss it if it were gone. And so in the beginning when I would do this, even though I was afraid of what they might say or think of me, I felt it was better to ask for their leftovers if they didn’t want it.
By Robertus and Jeff
Every winter is a bad time to be on the streets. But now it’s also a dangerous and deadly time to be without shelter.
A “Code Blue” is called by the city when the temperature falls to 20 degrees or below, or if the wind chill factor yields a temperature below 20 degrees. (Wind chills in the Philadelphia region are expected to fall as low as -15 degrees Monday night and overnight Tuesday.)
We gather each year, holding aloft signs, simple signs bearing someone’s name. We hold single green candles, lit against the wind to remember our neighbors, friends and loved ones. We gather to remember those homeless and formerly homeless Philadelphians who died in the last year, and to call for an end to homelessness.
Philadelphia’s annual Homeless Memorial Day is usually scheduled for Dec. 21 – the first day of winter, the longest night of the year. Because that day falls on a weekend in in 2013, Homeless Memorial Day is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 19, at Thomas Paine Plaza, Municipal Services Building in Center City, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.