Vendor Profile: Andre Brison
The three things Street Sense vendor and native Washingtonian Andre Brison are most proud of are his 12 and 21-year-old daughters and 16-year-old son. Andre’s dream for the future is to see his family all together. And slowly, with the help of Street Sense and the readers who support him, he is taking steps to make that a reality.
When Andre’s first daughter was taken away more than 10 years ago, he turned to drugs to deal with the pain and then struggled with addiction for the next eight years. “I was out there not paying attention to what was happening in my life, but I’m clean now,” Andre said.
These days Andre is working seven days a week and trying to put away enough money to secure permanent housing. In addition to earning money through selling Street Sense, Andre works regularly as a cook and takes on odd carpentry and electrical jobs. He is also working toward his commercial driver’s license.
Andre has been selling Street Sense for about a year and can be found at Friendship Heights Thursday through Sunday. According to him, the organization provides a means to earn money “the right way.” To get back on his feet, Andre wants to be true to himself and find productive ways to work toward his goals. “I am grateful and thankful for the readers because Street Sense kept me going when I didn’t have a job,” said Andre.
Through Street Sense, in addition to a supplemental income, Andre has found a way to break through barriers. One of this vendor’s favorite aspects of DC is the variety of people. But his situation on the streets has at times thrown up barriers between him and the DC elite. Street Sense provides a common ground for readers and vendors to meet and talk about issues. “It helps people overcome judgments on both sides,” Andre explained.