Mario

Mario; Las Vegas, NV

Something I have been trying to implement into my way of life recently has been authenticity. In basic terms, this means authenticity in the relationships I form and the love I give. This dramatic change was inspired by Mario, a loving father, and newly homeless individual in the Las Vegas Valley. Never in my life have a met a father who speaks so highly of his son. The love and compassion that comes from his words and actions are easily visible to anyone he chats with. Mario is a 25-year-old Park City, Utah native who has become recently become homeless when his battle with substance abuse and depression defeated him. Unable to hold a job and falling into a deep depression from being unable to provide for his son, Mario turned down a dark path with drugs and alcohol. This resulted in him being unable to pay rent with the streets his only place to call home. For me, imagining Mario in such a dark place seems nearly impossible compared to the happy-go-lucky goofy individual I met at our Priceless Pop-Up Shop.

Mario’s saving grace was the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, a local shelter that actually let the Can You Spare A Story Family come down and pass out flyers for our event. (I am very grateful for this) The Las Vegas Rescue Mission provides a number of services for the homeless population including rehabilitation. Mario is so thankful to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission for helping him reach sobriety. He took part in their rehabilitation program that provides homeless individuals a safe substance-free place to stay, free meals, and training on how to continue life without substance. Mario’s motivation for reaching sobriety was his son with a goal to be the father he dreamt of being. Mario worried that if he didn’t get his life together his son would be embarrassed by him as a father. If he could say anything to his son, he would say that he loves him and he will be home soon.

Words cannot describe how truly grateful I am for meeting Mario. I can honestly say that he has had a profound impact on me and my way of life. I hope and pray for him to return safely to his son and provide the life he wants for him.

Thanks For Reading,

Sydney


Alice and Josh

Alice & Josh; Las Vegas, NV

When most people think of settling down and starting a family, a white picket fence and dinner on the table at 5 is usually involved. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for Alice and Josh. Alice and Josh moved from Georgia to the Las Vegas area in hopes of starting a new life in a new city. With their two young children by their side, they were forced on to the streets after their moving arrangements fell through. With no place to stay and four mouths to feed, Josh went on the search for a new job. Josh and Alice chose to keep their struggle for survival from their 2 and 3 year-old little girls because they didn’t want them to worry.

The couple is extremely grateful for local shelters that have provided Alice and the children a safe place to stay. Sadly, the shelter did not allow men, and Josh heroically slept alone on the streets. Josh is one of the most dedicated fathers I have ever seen in action. He talks of his acts as if it is nothing, yet he worked constantly to find work to support his family. Alice and Josh attended Can You Spare A Story’s Priceless Pop-Up Shop on July 29th getting new clothes for all members of the family. As they told me their story, I saw the strength and dedication of two young parents erupt right before my eyes. Josh had found a job where he could afford a space for the family in a few weeks time.

Both Alice and Josh say that never giving up hope in the Lord has helped them survive. I truly believe that their love and dedication for their children made their success a necessity instead of an option. The idea of having children on the streets is one that no parent could even imagine. The time that these individuals spent on the streets tested every bit of their strength. I am so grateful to have had the honor of meeting both Alice and Josh. If they are ever reading this, I want them to know that I admire them both more than they will ever know. I hope you think of Alice and Josh as you rest your head today happily knowing your family is safe tonight. Some people don’t have the luxuries we overlook, be grateful for what you have.

Thanks for reading,

Syd


Melissa

Melissa; Las Vegas, NV

Today’s story is extremely close to my heart. At Can You Spare A Story’s first event, “The Priceless Pop-Up Shop,” we met a multitude of individuals willing to share their stories to receive basic necessities. The event was not the only first for Can You Spare A Story that day, Melissa was the first woman to ever share her story without worry of taking a photo or being shamed. As Melissa approached me, my eyes immediately glued to hers and I could see a burst of hope within her. Melissa is a 49-year-old (yes, I said 49! I couldn’t believe it either,) who has recently received word of a new job after being homeless for the past month. A sad reality that many homeless individuals face upon being hired is not having clothing, toiletries, and transportation to perform the tasks expected of them. This was Melissa’s reality, she had to call in sick to her first day at her new job because she did have any clothes other than the ones on her back. July 29th, 2017 was Melissa’s first day of work and it was also the Can You Spare A Story Priceless Pop-Up Shop. Melissa stumbled upon our event on the perfect day, she received new clothing, shoes, and toiletries to start her new job.

As she approached the table to share her story, I saw someone broken come back to life. Her skin was glowing and her smile spread ear-to-ear, this moment was the reason Can You Spare A Story was born. Her happiness was contagious as she laughed with the other women she travels with. It takes a strong woman to survive on the streets and Melissa does this flawlessly. She walked strong with her shoulders back strutting confidence, an action many women struggle with. Having confidence is a major issue. I, as many others have struggled with having confidence for many years. Curious for the answer myself, I asked Melissa her secret and she replied, ” I never lost faith in life.” These words have stuck with me ever since, it truly is that simple and I hope you learn the same lesson I did from Melissa.

In asking Melissa how she survives on the streets, she answered simply by saying she does something productive every single day. Her daily task worked to keep her on the right track back to a normal life. Whether that be looking for a job, finding a shelter, or begging for food. She travels in a group of 3 other women, all of them dedicated to keeping one another safe. She told me that you have to put in effort to receive things in life, no one is going to hand you exactly what you need all the time. Her other words of wisdom included being willing to accept services without fear of shame. I loved this idea, never feel lesser for taking what you need. Melissa has made use of free bus passes provided by local shelters to go to and from work. I wish Melissa nothing but the absolute best in her new adventure. She truly is one of the strongest women I have ever met, if you’ve met my mother you know this means a lot. I cannot thank you enough for reading Melissa’s story. Please be sure to subscribe using the menu bar to your left to keep up with stories!

Thanks,

Syd