Darrell; Las Vegas, NV

In recent days, it feels as though everything around me is telling me to give up my dream of stopping the negative stigma attached to homelessness. My camera that originally started the Can You Spare A Story journey was stolen out of my car leaving me with no chance to create the quality content I expect of myself. Sometimes in life, you have to face the facts and step up to the plate so I said goodbye to a good chunk of my saving and hello to a brand new camera with high hopes of changing the world.

Today’s story is of Darrell, the ex-marine, and Georgia native that recently had his life turned upside down. Darrell always dreamt of being in the Marine Corps, he wanted to serve his country and be a man his mother would be proud of. When that dream became a reality and Darrell became a marine, he had a rude awakening that this was not the life he wanted. After serving for what seemed like an eternity, Darrell was honorably discharged and sent home. In Early 2016, Darrell and his brother moved out to Las Vegas to have a fresh start in a new city. Darrell and his brother were inseparable, they had done everything in life side-by-side. Six months into their beginning in Las Vegas, Darrell’s brother passed away due to heart failure. Heartbroken doesn’t even come close the express how Darrell felt about the loss of his brother.

Today, Darrell is living in a homeless camp on the west side of Las Vegas. He spends his days begging on the street for anything to help him get by. He mentioned that the hardest part of being homeless is trying to avoid being arrested for trespassing. I asked about shelters in the local area, and he said that they are over-crowded and unsafe. On multiple occasions, he has had things stolen from his bag while eating at the shelter. He has developed a one man wolf-pack identity and works best on his own. Darrell still always has a smile on his face and continues to work towards happiness each and every day. He wants the world to know that he is just a good, honest, hardworking individual. Part of his daily routine is reminding himself of his worth, this is something I think many of us should include in our daily lives.

Darrell is a perfect example of a reason the negative stigma attached to homelessness needs to cut off at the source. The general public is resistant towards a man in need who simply trying to get by. I hope this story reminds you that the dirty faces judged on the streets are human beings just like you and me. I would like to start a new trend, the next time you give money, food, water, etc. to a homeless individual share a photo or a status using the hashtag #canyoustopthestigma to be feature on Can You Spare A Story. By sharing your photos and encounters you will work towards stopping the negative stigma and encourage others to be the change they wish to see in the world.

Thanks For Reading,