The last thing a college student with compiling debts wants to think about is donating to those asking for money around campus. We seem to group them in with those handing out flyers as an inconvenience as we try to get from point A to point B every day in our busy lives. I distinctly remember Twitter blowing up with the GIF after Braxton Miller’s infamous spin move against Virginia Tech with taglines such as “When someone on High Street asks for money.”
Enter Street Speech, a paper that needs help saving, as stated on its cover of the October 2015 issue. This Columbus Coalition for the Homeless “has created a type of job that’s designed to help us work for ourselves and make a wage that helps us out of an impoverished state,” said Wayne Jones, a Street Speech vendor. This paper is written and distributed by the homeless or formerly homeless who are trying to make an honest living.
I understand that some may have an attitude that those begging for money had their chance and lost it. This could not be further from the truth. To these people, this is their job. These people, regardless of their pasts, are trying to earn an honest living while telling their stories along the way. If you pick up a copy of this paper, you will see for yourself what this paper means to these people and the importance that it has had on their lives. The ability to earn money from their own work, along with having an outlet to save them from demons such as loneliness and depression, has had more of an impact on their lives than one can even fathom.
This paper continues to have an impact on our city as well. The Columbus City Attorney and Street Speech just marked their one year anniversary of a partnership. This partnership has the goal of “helping educate the public about the criminal justice system, highlighting resources available to assist victims of crime, and bringing offenders with arrest warrants to justice,” according to an Oct. 2015 Street Speech article.
No one is asking you to donate on a daily or weekly basis; I know that I have no such ritual. However, when I have that dollar of change from Chipotle or a few quarters after picking up a coffee from Starbucks on the way to class, I know that it is much more gratifying to help these vendors trying to turn their lives around than to lose the change in the washer a few days later. Whether you are gearing up with holiday spirit, or want to pay it forward, Street Speech is a cause worth supporting.
Fourth-year, operations management