Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday Morning Photos & Stories

Yesterday morning, Elle and I joined Joy and Chad of the Carriage House, and writers Curtine Metcalf and Cheri Hoffer to find homeless people that would like their stories told.  After planning our objectives at the Carriage House, we made a beeline to the Boulder Band Shell - a part of Boulder's Central Park - where many of Boulder's homeless congregate.  (See the post of 12/21/10 for photos of and at the Band Shell.)

Near or at the Band Shell, we met with four currently homeless people and captured their photographs.  Curtine and Cheri partnered with three of the homeless for interviews.  One of the homeless men that we photographed wants to write his own story -- fulfillment of a longstanding desire to tell young people of his mistakes in a way that will encourage them to choose another path.

While we were at the Band Shell a small group of volunteers, possibly from Naropa, brought pots of warm soup and clothing to distribute.  Shortly after that, a Boulder Police officer arrived to enforce laws against distributing food without a permit.  One assumes that the intention of the laws is good - to prevent someone from knowingly or unknowingly giving "bad" food to others. But, as one of the homeless people said, "Don't they know that most of us have eaten food from dumpsters."

As our morning was finishing, Elle and I received a request from Joy.  A local salon owner, formerly homeless, would like to tell her story.  So, we stopped by the Boulder salon, set up our lights and captured the portrait. Jennifer Sleek-Klevdal will interview this entrepreneur.

One of our participants, Hope, has a service dog named Baby.  Hope says that she rescued Baby and that Baby now rescues her.  I am eager to read Curtine's story about Hope and Baby.  That's the portrait of Hope and Baby, to the left.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back from Travel

After being on the road for a couple of weeks, I was happy to return to our project today.

The morning started with a Rotary club meeting and a quick update on the project. (Very well received by Niwot Rotary members who are supportive of our vision and efforts!)

Then, off for an initial meeting with Travis Railey, Development & Marketing Director at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (  The Boulder Shelter is a huge part of the homeless landscape in Boulder and Travis was kind to spend a half hour with me to introduce the various services housed in and operated through the Shelter.  Based on that conversation, we're hoping to arrange an interview with a volunteer for Boulder County Cares.  This interview will help tell the story of the street outreach program of the Shelter that utilizes trained volunteers to canvass the community every winter evening, distributing blankets, gloves, hats, and other warm clothing, and providing food to unsheltered homeless people who are living on the streets.

We would also like to interview a long-time Shelter volunteer who serves meals to the homeless.  Such volunteer insight to the interface between the homeless and mainstream population would be excellent. Also excellent would some insight into how over 83,000 hot meals are prepared and served by the Shelter to homeless folks each year - at a cost of less than a dime each!

Then, I was fortunate to join Michelle Weiner-Davis at the Starbucks on University Hill. Michelle was completing her interview of Cassie Gedbaw, Coordinator of the CU chapter of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group. Cassie is passionate about serving the less fortunate and educating the University's students about homelessness.  One's hope for the future is bolstered when hearing of the selfless work of Cassie and her peers.  I'm eager to read the story that Michelle will write.

My morning finished with a portrait session with Cassie at the east end of Varsity Lake on the CU campus.  She's a lovely lady.  Wouldn't you agree?