Last Word: Seeing Hope


I am a rising junior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York studying anthropology, Africana Studies, and sociology.

I have grown up visiting my grandparents in Washington D.C. Every time I visited I eagerly anticipated going to the Eastern Market, and in the more recent years, I’ve loved seeing “The Cat in the Hat”, Philip Black. When thinking about how I would like to spend my summer break, I wanted to find a way I could combine my interests in anthropology, leadership and activism.

Sometimes I receive packages from my grandmother while I’m at school in the Finger Lakes of New York. Inside is always a copy of Street Sense. Having used social media to gain the attention of my peers in the past, I began to think of ways that Street Sense could benefit from a more visual aspect. Through film, I wanted to answer some of the questions about homelessness that had nagged me since childhood.

In my leadership class this past fall, we were instructed to write our own “I believe” statements. So when I sat down to brainstorm what I thought I could bring to Street Sense I began with: I believe…in humanity, and I believe in the power of knowledge. I believe that everyone has a story to be told and heard and that those stories have an impact. I believe in social awareness leading to social change, and I believe I can be a leader in guiding this process.

Inspired by this, I came up with a 10-week campaign for Street Sense that focuses on highlighting the incredible strides of the organization as well as the individual vendors. I have titled the project “Seeing Hope.” It is comprised of 10 short YouTube films that will document individual vendors’ stories through working with Street Sense. The videos will be released every Wednesday on the Street Sense YouTube site and I will also be maintaining my own personal experiences on my blog (

Johnnie Martin will assist me this summer; she is a good friend and an organizational communications major at Capitol University in Ohio. So far we have been able to interview three incredible vendors: Philip Black, David Denny and Tammy Karuza. Each has helped us understand what Street Sense means to him or her. A recurring theme I encountered in the interviews is the hope they find from Street Sense, and I believe that hope is what spurs us on for the future. I am looking forward to volunteering with Street Sense this summer and having the privilege of sharing many vendor stories with you all.

Vendors: interested in being heard? We’ll be in the office on Tuesdays from 1-5pm!

Have any questions or comments about our project? Feel free to get in touch with us

at: [email protected]

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.