Self Portrait of Ken Martin
Self Portrait of Ken Martin

Ken Martin
During the past year I, while overloaded with issues—not the least of which is chronic and acute pain— by the Grace of God made many advances. Through homelessness I have been granted enough of life’s lemons to make many pitchers of lemonade, metaphorically speaking that is. Here’s to all of you that helped make it happen!
Mere thanks is not enough to demonstrate my appreciation for your support in these events and accomplishments, but I feel I owe you some accounting for your efforts and especially your paper purchase contributions on my behalf.
A list of them would contain: published articles in this fine paper; completed interviews with other outlets about my journey, such as Fox 5, Al Jazeera and The Economist; mentored students through our Teaching Hope seminar and Lessons of Hope community forums; paid a loan off at Life Asset; joined People For Fairness Coalition; completed a Street Sense podcast interview; and survived a rough year of homelessness (thought I would that slip that in); and the list goes on..
The biggies are temporary, safe housing and relationship renewal with my son.
Many of my fellow vendors have done equally well and even more. I would not have accomplished as much without their support and leadership as well as that of the Street Sense staff.
Hats off to all of us for what we do together as community!

 


Henrieese Roberts

Henrieese Roberts

I have been experiencing a difficult time with pain and moving myself into new habits in order to manage my disease. I am happy to state that while attending a Campaign to “End AIDS” in Virginia Beach, last year, I met a minister from Atlanta who is now my coach. He offers me short weekly calls to encourage me to grow positively. I am now moving ahead productively, motivated by visions of people I love. For example, I think about my aunt and it forces me to use the warm compresses I need for my eyes. AIDS in forcing me to adopt these new habits. I thank God every day for my coach.  One day, I would like to have a day of productive activity that resembles one of our professional athletes!


 

Betty Everett

Betty Everett

Hey y’all! It’s me again, the girl from North Carolina.
I must say 2015 was a year full of gun and domestic violence. Let’s work really hard to make 2016 more peaceful. Every day that I wake up and get out of bed, I thank God for giving me the strength to find my own apartment. I ask him to help others less fortunate find a full or part-time job with a decent wage.
On the X2 bus at H and North Capitol Streets about a month ago I saw a gentleman wiping his eyes. Then he started really crying. I had never seen a grown man cry! I Ieft my seat and asked him what was wrong. He said he was okay, although I didn’t believe him. So, I went back to my seat. What disturbed me the most is that no one else bothered to comfort him. They just kept looking at their mobile phones. Sad, but true: this is what the world is coming to. When I ask people for directions, they are texting, they have ear plugs, and they keep walking. I have seen them walk into traffic while texting!
I hope everyone has the happiest New Year! Thanks for buying Street Sense from me and other vendors. May God bless you and yours. With love, Betty


 

Patty Smith

Patty Smith

In the new year I am contemplating going back to school at Consumer Action Network. It can get you in touch with the program’s rehabilitation programs for the disabled to further your education. These monthly classes are just the refresher courses I need. For years I have wanted to go back and take a class that lasted for a while.
A few years ago I wrote in our very first Street Sense Writers Group, which we then called Writing for Food. So, I need to increase my learning and learn to perform more tasks.


 

Sybil Taylor

Sybil Taylor

Happy New Year and Happy (belated) Christmas! This holiday season is very, very sad for me and my family. The table was empty and the joy of Christmas was not the same. Putting up the Christmas tree and lights and decorations and ornaments was not joyous. Neither were the Christmas cookies, milk or eggnog. None of it.
The joy of my father last year was a blessing to us. Bringing in the New Year and sharing his love, joy and beautiful smile was a blessing. He made us all feel welcome and there was nothing to worry about. Even though he was sick, that was his and our best Christmas and New Year together. Last year, he got a chance to share Christmas with us by opening his presents. I spent over $100 on him and my mom and my two sisters and my brother and my sister-in-law and my niece. It was the best, sharing our love with him around the bedside as he smiled with Christmas joy and brought in 2015 with us.
This Christmas and New Year was spent in his new home in heaven, away from us. Though he is missed, he is with us in spirit and will be forever in our hearts. Christmas should have been very big for him in God’s mansion. The biggest gift and joy is that Jesus was born on this day, and so was I. I am too a Christmas joy, angel, baby. This is the best season. Dad, you will be missed until one day we can all be together again and rejoice.
Love you always Dad.


 

Ronald Turner

Ronald Turner

My name is Ronald Turner and I had a good year in 2015. I bought a car. My plan for 2016 is to get insurance and tags, and to find a full-time job. I also want to find my own place and stay in good health and out of trouble.


 

Robert Warren

Robert Warren

For me, a new year always leaves a lot to improve upon.
I will turn 55 years-old this year. I never thought, at this time in my life, that I would still be trying to overcome some of my bad thinking and bad behavior. So, as in years past, I will try to start anew. The Lord willing, I will be a better servant to the Him.
I really had some ups and downs in 2015. Through it all, my Street Sense family and friends—and most importantly, the Lord—would not let me get down on myself. I know in this new year to come, I have to do a better job of being present for my 11 year-old daughter and my 87 year-old mother. I will try to carry myself in a more positive light.
Being a Muslim-American is kind of depressing. People look at you differently, just because of your belief in the Lord. I have always thought of people of faith as one and the same in so many ways. I try to always carry with me the thought of forgiving one’s faults and having a kind word for all. This is said to be more powerful than charity. Yet even with all the turmoil in the world, I still put my trust in the Lord that things will work out. Being a homeless advocate doesn’t leave you with much time to feel sorry for yourself, with so many people in need around you. My hope for the new year is that all the people who need affordable housing can find it and for them to have a happy new year. (But not in a Trump concentration camp.)
I pray that people will not give in to the fear that so many Republican presidential candidates are running on and trying to sell to the American people. We have been down this road before, when many would try to make us fear our fellow men and women because they are perceived to be “different from us.”
So for me in 2016, I will not fear others. I will strengthen my belief in myself so that I can publish my poetry book! I wish a happy and safe New Year to all!