Kendra

Kendra; Las Vegas, NV

15 is far too young to be thrown into the world expected to be an adult. After meeting Kendra, I was astonished on the findings I found within myself throughout our conversation. When I was 15 years old, I struggled with self-love, worried about what the cute boy next to me in algebra thought of me.When Kendra was 15, she was worried about whether she was going to make it or ever be loved again.Kendra originally lived with her mother in Santa Clarita, California. When she was 15, Kendra and her mother got into a huge argument which resulted in Kendra’s mother pressing charges and kicking Kendra out. Kendra was placed into foster care was she was 15 years old, feeling as though the whole world was against her and didn’t want her to succeed. When she was 18 years old, she was pushed out of foster-care expected to be prepared for life. She had an aunt who lived on the streets and taught her the ways of street-life. Kendra’s aunt introduced her to a young man who had been a part of her street family and Kendra instantly fell in love with him. Kendra is now a free-spirited, kind, and beautiful 20-year-old girl living on the streets. She is currently hitchhiking her way a crossed America for the second time with her soon-to-be husband.

With modern-day news stories becoming more and more cruel, hitchhiking seems like a thing of the past. Kendra showed me that with hitchhiking, you have to believe in good people. While traveling the roads of America, Kendra has met some of the most influential and interesting individuals. But the part I was most intrigued by was how she spoke of falling in love with each city they came upon. In the modern day world, very few people get the opportunity to simply explore due to the fact that they feel the need to grow up. Instead of spending life exploring every inch of America, we choose to go to college, get a good-paying job, and start a family. The American dream of yesterday seems to be taking over the explorations of tomorrow, Kendra opened my eyes to a new horizon. What if there is more to life than making money and settling down? The life of adventure that you read about in storybooks could become your life if we just gave up the American Dream.

Of course, in reality, the discussion of safety always has to come into play. As a woman in the modern day world, it can be especially dangerous to simply jump in a car heading the same way as you. When I asked Kendra about this, she has nothing but faith in people but always travels with her fiancé to ensure safety. She spoke of how the world is scared of trusting strangers and if we were all a little more trusting of one another hitchhiking wouldn’t seem like such a crazy idea. I admire her faith in humanity and how she takes every day by storm. Kendra’s hitchhiking days are coming to a close in a final trip across the USA. These lovebirds have decided to start their lives in the up-and-coming city of Clarksville, Tennessee. Her excitement was contagious as she spoke of finally having a place to call home. They already have family and friends in the area and plan to find work in the new year. I hope for nothing but safe travels for Kendra and her fiancé on their final voyage across the USA. I hope they know how much they’ve inspired me to explore life through a different lens and maybe reconsider the American Dream.

Thanks For Reading,

Syd


Chris

Chris; Las Vegas, NV

Today’s story is the story of one of the most genuine souls I have ever met. A dedicated father whose eyes light up when he speaks of his four-year-old baby girl, Lacey. Chris spoke of his daughter like she puts stars in the sky, even whipping out a photo or two gabbing about the gorgeous girl. Chris is new to the homeless scene, after a falling out with Lacey’s mother 2 weeks ago he was forced onto the streets. Chris will see his daughter for Christmas and I promise you, he is counting down the seconds.

In recent days, it has been difficult for Chris to find jobs in construction. He mentioned that the union workers are offered the first pick of jobs, leaving little to none for non-union workers. Chris has purchased a pre-paid phone to stay up-to-date with job opportunities by panhandling on the side of the street. When I asked him what the most difficult part of homelessness, he said ” begging on the side of the street for money”. Chris has a strong sense of pride that makes it difficult to beg, I admire this and came to the realization that most people would feel this way if put in the situation.

Chris restored my faith in humanity. He told me that people provide, his sign simply states what he needs: food, water, and blankets. I feel as though the community sees those who are genuinely in need, just like Chris. On the streets, Chris has made a street family of some of the most humble individuals. He has made 5 good friends who would give the shirt off their backs for anyone in need. I asked of related family and he mentioned that two years ago, he lost his mother on Christmas Eve which started a downward spiral. Chris is focused on his goals and being an amazing father, I know that this is just a rough patch in his story. If he is reading this, I want him to know that I have nothing but respect for him and pray he gets back to working soon. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet and share the stories of amazing people. I hope you keep these individuals in mind this holiday season and chose to share these stories with friends and family.

Thanks for reading,

Syd


Miss Jeannie

Miss Jeannie; Phoenix, AZ

Alas the holiday season is upon us! As I scroll through the “Can You Spare A Story” Instagram (which you can find here), I have been hit by a whirlwind of volunteer posts and I am so grateful to share the world with such inspiring individuals. The passion for community has a way of coming out during the holiday season, I strongly encourage you to get involved. If you chose to take advantage of the volunteer opportunities this holiday season, I would love for you to share them with me by using the hashtag #canyouspareavolunteer.

Today’s story is the story of Miss Jeannie. This Phoenix native has southwestern sass that will blow you away. But once you crack her shell, you realize that it’s all an act to ensure her safety while on the streets. Miss Jeannie became homeless in 2015 after a texting and driving car accident left her in the hospital with two ruptured discs in her back and medical bills piling up. At the time, she was staying with a boyfriend in Newport Beach, who had kicked her out after the accident, leaving her with thousands of dollars in medical bills. Jean was forced on the streets in extreme pain emotionally and physically, abandoned by a man she was madly in love with.

In recent days, Jeanie is begging on Phoenix streets to make it day to day. She says the most challenging parts of living on the streets is providing basic life needs and being a woman alone in this world. Jeanie choked up when talking about how her ex-boyfriend destroyed every ounce of trust she once had. Jeanie is a one man wolf-pack, unable to trust due to fear of being betrayed. She broke my heart by saying, ” I have no friends, family, or support”. Jeanie believes she has a guardian angel guiding her throughout life, protecting her from danger while on the streets. She spends a majority of her time at the library, constantly searching for new knowledge to better herself. In high school, Jeanie always wanted to be a teacher providing guidance to young kids to better the future. Jeanie has a kind heart, she constantly tries to see the good in people. She inspires me to be more optimistic in my day to day life, I hope her story has a similar influence on you.

Thanks for Reading,

Sydney