The year was 2008 and the summer was winding down. I was homeless and had been laid off my job. I was struggling. Then I heard a voice behind me.

“Help a hardworking homeless man who doesn’t have to be for a penny or a pence, homeless isn’t helpless if you have Street Sense”.

I listened. And in those words I heard God calling me to get more involved in my community and the world.

I was trained as a vendor a week later. I began my journey. It was difficult at first. I did not know how to sell newspapers. It wasn’t until I joined the newspaper’s writer’s group that I  became fully engaged. I started writing a column called Reggie’s Reflections based upon incidents in my own life. Then I began writing about people and places in the community. One of my first feature stories made it to the front page of Street Sense. I was astonished and excited. The momentum continued. I went on to helping design and lay out the writer’s group page. During this time a U.S. Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama won the presidential election and members of the writer’s group had a chance to cover the inauguration of our first African American president.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be there, reporting on those events.

For the rest of that year 2009, I kept writing for Street Sense, opinion pieces and hard core news. Then, for awhile, I left the paper. Then, with new vigor I returned to Street Sense, to advocacy and to writing.  I saw that I was tied to communal work, and I was blessed to witness President Obama’s second inauguration.

This paper has helped me to reach some goals. It has also taught me that only true love can end homelessness. It is not the love that we share with a spouse, or friend or family member. It is the  innate desire to help all people prosper.

So thank you Laura and Ted.

You created something that has really made a difference.

And just like I always add, we all should live our lives offering small acts of kindness.

I hope many others will hear the call to become more involved with their community like I did, when I first encountered a way to give and earn my two cents.