Dennis Forster

God, The Creator, or whatever higher power you believe in is so good! In my last article back in December of 2013, I wrote a “Dear Santa” letter asking for a job. Santa came through as always and it was up to me to put on my interview clothing, make sure that my resume was in perfect tip-top shape with no errors in it, that I made it on time for the interview, that I was able to make eye contact, and answer and listen to the questions that my  interviewer asked from me.

I have to share how God is good in my understanding and how he has a plan for all of his children no matter what age we are on his journey of our lives.  One of my customers, Mr. Richard Peterson on 14th and K Street, would sometimes buy the paper from me or another vendor named Marcus who happens to be at the same corner..  Well, Mr. Peterson read my “Dear Santa” article, and three days later he saw me on my corner and he asked me if I was willing to take an entry-level position.  I told him sure, that I needed a job.  Mr. Peterson asked me if I was going to be at my corner for another 10 minutes.  I told him I would be here for a while selling Street Sense newspapers. Mr. Peterson came back within 10 minutes and handed me two business cards with his name on one and a woman named Connie Woodland on the other for Capital Area Assets Builders (CAAB).  Mr. Peterson asked me if I could make it to an interview with Ms. Woodland on December 23rd at noon, and to call him if I couldn’t.  But he didn’t have to worry. No way I would miss that!

I made it to my interview on time and met with Connie.  She brought both me and her a Subway sandwich and a bag of chips.  Ms. Woodland and I sat in a medium size conference room.  She started eating her sandwich, and said I could also eat mine.   But I told her I was so excited and nervous that I couldn’t think about eating anything.  All the while I was thinking to myself, ‘maybe I should  force myself to eat the sandwich that she was so nice to buy for me. I hope I don’t insult her and ruin my chances of getting hired for the position.’ Ms. Woodland asked me a few questions, gave me a full description of the job and its requirements, and told me what kind of organization they were.

Suddenly she looked at my resume and asked if this was my actual address.  I said yes. I live within walking distance.  One of my angels had me drop the “N Street Village” name—the property managers where I live. Connie then asked me whether I knew an Evelyn. I told her yes. She’s the property manager of my building. Talk about a small world!  But, I still say it’s God’s plan for me.

After the interview was over, I went back to my apartment and changed into my Street Sense selling clothes.  As I was going out of the front door I ran into Evelyn.  I started to ask her whether she knew Connie Woodland, but Evelyn beat me to the punch. She told me Connie called to ask her whether she knew me.  Evelyn said Connie was so impressed with me that I needed to “claim that position.”  I told her immediately I would.

Then, Brandon Caudill, Street Sense’s vendormanager, told me Capital Area Assets Builders has volunteered its services and helped a few vendors before. I said to myself ‘how is it I’ve never heard of Capital Area Assets Builders? Is it the best kept secret in the city?.

A whole week went by after the interview with Connie Woodland. Then Ms. Woodland called to tell me I could report to work on Jan. 6, at 9:00 a.m.

I started dancing and thanking Jesus and God all at once for giving me a thousand second chances. I also want to give a thank you to Santa- Mr. Rich Petersen, Executive Director of CAAB, who read my article and decided to give me an interview with his organization. I also want to give a thank you to Connie Woodland, Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Matched Saving Program of CAAB. Even though Mr. Petersen is her boss and he set up this interview, it was Connie’s decision whether or not to hire me.

I work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  My position is Office Manager, which means I can’t continue to sell Street Sense on weekdays. But I may start selling on weekends once the weather breaks. I have learned not to say never ever again.

When I started working Street Sense, I was told it was not a career, but it would improve my economic status as an individual. I have done this through the help of God. I have written numerous articles that have affected me and others, whether they were homeless or not. I’ve done what I am supposed to do, but I do know my journey has not yet ended because I know that God has a plan for me and everyone else He has created.

CAAB is a great opportunity for low to moderate income families who want to finish their education, be  first-time home buyers or go into business for themselves. CAAB gives money to individuals who want to improve their livelihood.  I have always wanted to go into business for myself, and working for CAAB I can do that by going to their classes for finance. Once I do everything I am supposed to do at CAAB, they will match my savings.

I want to give thanks to Street Sense and all the wonderful vendors, volunteers and staff.  I’ve worked there for three years, and I worked alongside some awesome people. Without Street Sense I don’t know where I would be today. Thank you again! I also want to thank all my customers for their prayers and being loyal in buying the paper from me.  It’s not like I won’t see my customers again because a plethora of my customers work in the same area as I do now.  So when the weather breaks, I am sure I will be seeing you during lunchtime.

Thanks again, everyone.

Aida Basnight