Blake

Blake; Phoenix, AZ

Today’s story is different than anything I have ever done on this blog, mostly because Blake is not homeless. The last few months of my life have been dedicated to Can You Spare A Story, working hard to share the stories of the homeless population. Passion projects are an art form, some stem from negativity others from positivity. After meeting Blake in a downtown Phoenix coffee shop I felt compelled to share his story.

Blake’s shirt reads “Change Maker” and he is exactly that, Blake sufferers from severe PTSD after being sexually assaulted in his own home. Blake was attacked in the middle of night by 3 drunk men who broke into his home and sexually assaulted him changing his life forever. When the police arrived, the story was 3 against 1 as the men insisted it was simply a misunderstanding. The following months left Blake in a deep-rooted depression with no justice served his safety was never insured again. Blake struggles every single day with nightmares and triggers of that horrible night.

One late night changed Blake’s life forever, for the first time in a long time Blake found laughter while watching The Steven Colbert Show. This show got him out of his darkness, something he had struggled with for a long time. The next day strolling through Staples, Blake had a idea that would change his journey forever. He chose a literal blank canvas, a white poster board, to petition his way on to the Steven Colbert Show to tell his story.


As of February 10th, Blake has been approaching strangers to sign his petition boards  for the last 457 days. He has gone through 307 boards and has a total of 21,065 signatures and counting. He has found therapy in sharing his story with strangers, little did he know I have a passion of sharing others stories with the world. In our conversation, we spoke of how life happens and how that is presented through his boards. Not only are these boards covered with messages of love for Blake on his journey but baby spit up, coffee spills, and even the occasional drop of blood or two.

Blake fights his PTSD on an everyday basis by being vulnerable and telling strangers something you think would be his deepest darkest secret. Blake hopes one day to present these boards in an exhibit, showing the world how community can heal just about anything. Blake is currently working towards doing a TED talk at Grand Canyon University in the upcoming months. Blake puts his heart and soul into this project every single day, and  I need each and everyone of you to help Blake get to The Stephen Colbert Show. You can follow his movement on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Blake-Late-Show-1480994415541825/.

I have never met an individual with such a kind and open heart. Blake works hard each and everyday to tell his story, just as I work each and everyday to tell the stories of the homeless population.

Thanks For Reading,

Syd


Gabriel

Gabriel; Las Vegas, NV

I have spent a lot of time with this story trying to provide a walk in Gabriel’s shoes for all my readers.Many of us take the lives we live for granted, without realizing that homelessness could be right around the corner.A few months ago, Gabriel set out on a journey he had been dreaming about. He would be leaving his family and old home in Phoenix to start a new life in California. Gabe set out on his journey without a care in the world, just him and the open road… that was until his car broke down in Henderson, NV. Without the funds to fix his broken car, he began walking the streets of Henderson towards downtown Las Vegas as his car got towed away.
Gabe’s life went from a fresh start to homeless in a matter of hours, the towing company was asking $400.00 to release the car and in an instant… Gabe was stranded.

Gabriel’s journey hit a huge bump in the road and instead of a new start of freedom, it became a fight for survival on the streets. He started out looking for cheap hotels to stay in till he found work, but the hotel bills kept piling up. Without a dime to his name, Gabe was left sleeping with one eye open on the streets. He mentioned to me how grateful he is to the casinos and big businesses that come downtown to feed and provide for the homeless. He never expected Las Vegas to be such a giving community, he explained to me that strangers provided and granted him faith in humanity.

When I asked Gabriel what some of the biggest obstacles on the streets are, he answered, “staying warm and away from the crazies.” We talked about how the stress of the streets can cause people to go crazy. Imagining myself in this situation made going crazy seem understandable. When you are homeless, you feel like a constant outcast with the world against you. Gabe travels light, he carries his life around in a single backpack to make travel easier. My conversation with Gabe was short and sweet but I am grateful for the time we had. Gabe is a man on a mission and I know he will make it to California in no time.

Gabriel’s story had a different effect on me than any other story I have shared.  it’s the idea that homelessness is much closer than we think.With a lost job, injury, or disaster,  anyone could be that dirty face you pass on the street. I want you to take this into consideration next time you see a homeless individual begging, this could be you if something was to happen.

Thanks For Reading,

Syd