Eboni is the sweetest and the toughest, all at the same time. You can hear her coming by the sounds of her steps along the corridor of our the Street Sense offices. Always running around, jumping on everybody’s arms, it seems that she doesn’t even care to be in the streets. It’s been about three years now, but she has to stay positive – for her mom.
Mom,vendor Sasha Williams, has been homeless since she finished high school in 2003. After a traumatic experience in her neighborhood, Sasha decided to leave the area. Because she had nowhere to go, with student and medical debts to pay, she ended up in a shelter at only eighteen years old. Since then she has been wandering from shelter to searching tirelessly for housing.
Eboni and her mother are always together. Until recent months they were both staying at DC General family shelter, where Eboni’s mom was born; at that time it was still a hospital.
Eboni takes good care of Mom. She wakes up at 5am every morning because Mom has to go to class; she’s getting a certificate at a Residential Specialist Training in Social Assistance and Residential Counselling. Meanwhile Eboni stays with her Aunt until Mom finishes class around noon. Afterward, they come together to Street Sense.
They participate to every workshop they can: filmmaking, illustration, or even theatre. And Eboni does the best she can. Even if she doesn’t know how to read, or write, or even speak. But that’s because she’s only three years old.
Mom’s specialty is illustration. She can draw a picture of a homeless person out in the cold as well as a map of the District wards. Ebony is always next to her doing more modern and contemporary art, as most children do.
Mom has a dream: she wants to become a successful real estate agent. She believes it is a way to help families find affordable housing.
“But before, I need a home with my girl,” Sasha explains. Finding a place to live is not an easy thing, there is little help, even for a single mother. Housing is expensive and the waitlists are long.
However, Eboni’s never sees Mom lose faith. She takes full advantage of the facilities Street Sense has to offer.
“I love Street Sense. I learn a lot here. It’s good emotionally. It gives me motivation.”
And luckily for her, Eboni is always close.
“She’s a blessing. She keeps me warm,” says Mom.
And that little girl sure gives everybody a lesson: no matter what you are going through, happiness is always inside of you.