My time at Street Sense has been enlightening. I have learned a lot about homeless people, the city and myself. I came here looking for an experience, and I definitely got one. One of the most important things I have learned is that I should not look down on anyone because they don’t have a house key in their pocket.
Just because someone doesn’t have a key doesn’t make them unworthy of a voice. A particular kind of wisdom grows out of living on the streets. I’m only one month into my semester at Street Sense, and the people who know the city best are showing me around.
During the second week of my internship I was talking to Reggie, one of the vendors, about living with five roommates in a two-bedroom apartment. I told him I hardly get alone time living in a space with more people than rooms. Reggie suggested that I visit the Botanical Gardens. “It’s the only place in this city where you can truly be alone, and it’s warm,” he said. Since I attend school in West Texas, warmth and peace were both tempting.
Sure enough, Reggie knew what he was talking about. The conservatory at the gardens was warm, quiet and beautiful. I wandered through the huge indoor garden, looking at thousands of plants and soaking in the sun’s rays. I spent a couple of hours enjoying just being by myself.
I was introduced to a part of the city that I probably would not have discovered on my own. My coworkers at Street Sense may not have a key to a house, but they have shared their keys to the city with me.