Our greatest pride is in those whose lives we've touched. These folks have persisted through circumstances more trying than most of us can imagine. Many of them contend with complications like diabetes, mental health concerns, and a constant social stigma. While we, our volunteers, and our donors all have much to take pride in, we are always called to acknowledge the valor and dignity of those we serve. Take a moment to get to know a few of our longest-served, and we're sure you'll understand why.
Loopah's been a member of the Los Angeles community since he moved, in 1984, to the heart of Downtown LA. After losing his job as a worker at the docks, he lost his home, his car title, and his family. Though he's lived on the streets for three decades, Loopah insists on the joy of common life. At the central library, you can find him smiling at every entrant, reading a copy of the latest thriller novel to catch his eye. Loopah's currently on track for a subsidized housing voucher and, with a little extra volunteer help, hopes to be housed by this time next year.
As an artist, Tedward's contributions to the city can be seen across the corners of Downtown almost any day of the week. His spiraling, impressionistic paintings earn him just enough to keep his perscriptions covered, but anyone can tell you: the life of a true visionary isn't always smooth. With his cardboard canvasses and with Chuff, his loyal lab, Tedward is living proof that the creative spirit is an indominable force.
When we asked Linda what she'd like to say to the world, her terse reply was this: "Even if people think they've got it down, they're just a second from bein' down and out." Linda knows this better than most. A former financial advisor, Linda's schizophrenia inflicted a heavy toll on her working life. With cuts to the mental health system, and a lack of support, it soon took her from a plush and happy life. Twenty years on, Linda still has hopes of proper treatment and a return to her calling.
There are many people who help our organization run, and even those with only a few minutes deliver a gigantic impact. The volunteers we profile here dedicate varying amounts of time, and maintain their own lives outside the organization. Even those who can only spare a few moments every few weeks, though, are heroes to those they serve.
When Lucian leaves school for the day, wrapping up his shifts as an elementary school math teacher, he immediately hits the streets. Seven days a week, Lucian--often accompanied by his partner Francis--pounds the pavement to check in on those of less fortune. His deep and honest connections with the community he serves gives Lucian insight enough that he is often called in by social services as an advocate and aid in the treatment of the skid row population.
"Young folks are too burned out on the internet, I think," John tells us. "We click and post, and we think we've done something. Or worse, we feel so trapped behind screens, thinking these problems are so big, that we don't remember that we can just walk outside and change something with our own hands. Every weekend, I put in two, three hours and deliver bowls, then pick up used ones on Sunday. It's that simple. Just a little bit, and you can really make an impact."
Mitchel defies the idea that the homeless are only in need of help. Perhaps our most prolific volunteer, Mitchel is also among our served community. By serving as a trusted liason between Curbsides and his compatriots, Mitchel helps spread the word, letting us spot-target service to those who need it the most. From his tent on 8th, Mitchel is the ultimate set of eyes and ears of an organization he credits for helping him get his medical treatment under thumb.
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