My goal in 2018 is to bring out the human in homelessness. I feel so often that we are so focused on asking the question, “how did you get here?” Or, “what’s your next move?” that we forget to find out who these individuals actually are. The relationship I created within minutes with Amber inspired me to form more intentional relationships with those I meet. Amber is not defined by her homelessness, she is an ever-growing strong woman focused on survival. In everyday life, I get so caught up in writing stories and finishing homework that I forget the opportunity I have to connect with the homeless population through Can You Spare A Story. Can You Spare A Story isn’t what I do.. it is what I am.

I had the absolute pleasure of getting know Amber as she shopped our Winter Priceless Pop-Up Shop. During the Priceless Pop-Up Shop, we had our volunteers offer personal shopping to ensure each individual received exactly what they needed. Amber got partnered up with one of our incredible volunteers, Karen, who flew all the way from California just to be at our event.  The two shopped the day away, finding incredible pieces to make Amber feel the most confident and warm this winter season. When the shopping spree was over, Karen took time to introduce me to Amber so she could share her story

37-year-old Amber came to the Las Vegas Valley in search of a job that just never ended up coming. When the bills began to stack up and life became too expensive to handle, Amber was forced onto the streets and now has been for the past 6 months. As a woman on the streets, life can be extremely dangerous with no one trust and nowhere to go. Amber is extremely grateful to have found safety staying at the Salvation Army. The harsh cold of the Winter months often times makes finding shelter extremely difficult. Amber feels incredibly blessed to have found a temporary home to stay safe overnight.

Through pain and hardship, Amber has found safety in time with the Lord and remains prayerful things will pick up soon. In fact, she mentioned that small events put on by her local church are a major part of her ability to keep on track.  Amber mentioned how incredibly humbling of an experience being homeless has been. She said that “this is not a role for the weak.” Although homelessness is not often a choice, it takes a strong individual to handle the obstacles that come with the lifestyle. Amber showcases her ability to survive on her own flawlessly and she inspires me to be the strong woman I know I can be.

Although many of us have never and will never understand Amber’s situation, I hope we all remember that she is not defined by homelessness. She is a human who deserves dignity and respect. Her voice is one that deserves to be heard and I hope she inspires you to want to get know members of the homeless population for who they are not what they have been hit with.

Amber, if you are ever reading this, I hope you know the incredible impact you have had on me. You have shown me the power of truly getting to know others on a deeper level. I cannot thank you enough for attending our event and for spending time getting to know me as well.

Thanks for reading,

Syd

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