The New Age Definition of Homelessness

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A Homeless man stands beside a dumpster | By Ashley Strange

By Ashley Strange

Trinity Washington University

Journalism Class Student

On June 30, 2015, The Young Women’s Project, along with representatives from Sasha Bruce Youthwork, sat on a panel in front of funders to discuss youth homelessness and to figure out the correct definition of homelessness.

According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC), someone who is homeless is defined as someone who “lacks housing, including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility.” The NHCHC also references the term “doubled-up” to describe a person in a situation where they are forced to live with friends or family members.

Having a clear definition of homelessness and how it is caused is crucial, especially during this time of year as we enter freeing cold temperatures. Albert Townsend, Project Manager at People for Fairness Coalition, and his team organize the annual Homeless Person’s Memorial 2-day event to remember the homeless who have died on the streets each year. Townsend knows all too well how it feels to be homeless since he was once “unhoused” himself.

Many of the unhoused live in communities known as Tent City. Organizations such as People for Fairness Coalition are aware of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Encampment Sweeps. Per a press release by the Executive Office of the Mayor in 2015, Bowser plans to end homelessness by 2025. There have been many concerns with how she is going about ending homelessness. “When you separate Tent City, you separate people’s lives,” Townsend said. When the homeless have their tents thrown away they lose many personal items that may be in the tent, and for many those items represent their entire lives.

Although Mayor Bowser has been criticized for her methods of ending homelessness, some think that ending homelessness by 2015 is possible. Joseph Gavrilovich, policy analysis at the DC Alliance for Youth Advocates (DCAYA) believes that the Mayor’s plan is “attainable and that it’s important for the community to get behind the mayor’s goal and have meaningful input into the process.” Housing instability, according to Gavrilovich, “is caused by residential factors, economic factors and or family factors.” Homelessness, which Gavrilovich separates from housing instability, is a result of housing instability. It “takes many forms,” he says. It starts from “staying temporarily with family and friends to sleeping in community shelters to being out on the street, and it can be a temporary or permanent experience.”

Gavrilovich believes that nontraditional forms of homelessness, such as couchsurfing and doubling up should be included in the overall definition of homelessness. He says that “without connections to resources, those who are couchsurfing [or] doubling up are at greater risk of living in shelters or on the street.”

Many youth in DC are experiencing these nontraditional forms of homelessness, many youth like Jeremiah Lashley. His story is a perfect representation of what homeless youth experience every day. Lashley has been homeless since the age of 17, going in and out of countless shelters. “It was an experience,” Lashley stated. He defines homelessness as having “nowhere to go.” He talked about how hard it was for him to find employment due to being homeless. When you are homeless, “there’s nothing left. If you don’t have anything, you can’t get a job”

Lashley is aware of Mayor Bowser’s plan to end homelessness. “Whatever plans and bills she has in place,” he says, “I hope that it will help.” Despite all that he has been through since the age of 17, he still thinks that he has been blessed because he is still alive. Lashley has a message to share; “anybody who knows a homeless person should advocate and reach out to help them in anyway possible.”

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Street Sense: A Street Paper That’s More Than a Paper

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Street Sense Vendor Patty Smith | Photo by Ashley Strange

By Ashley Strange

Trinity Washington University

Journalism Class Student

Street Sense, a street newspaper inside of The Church of the Epiphany based on G Street NW, Washington, DC, is helping students develop as journalists while helping the homeless earn income.

According to their mission listed on StreetSense.org, they provide “economic opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in our community by elevating voices and encouraging debate on poverty and injustice.” The homeless and formally homeless write about 50 percent of the paper, while the other half is written by students, journalist, volunteers, and advocates, as described on the website.

Street Sense was created around the idea of helping the homeless gain income through paper sales, as explained by Editor-in-Chief Eric Falquero. The vendors who write for the paper and tell their stories are helping to “build public education” on issues around homelessness in D.C. Falquero said that Street Sense is “not just a newspaper,” they are much more. Street Sense provides other services besides helping vendors earn income. Their Film and Theater program is composed of documentaries and plays, all written by vendors and artists that help bring awareness of homelessness to those who may not buy and read the paper.

One of many Street Sense vendors is Patty Smith, who has been with the paper for 11 years. Smith became homeless after her and her mother lost their home. She afterward enrolled in the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) which provides job training among many other services. Through a job search, she found Street Sense and later joined as a vendor. Smith states that she loves working there, and she is even able to publish in the paper.

Not only has the organization given her the opportunity to earn money and write for the paper, it also helped her with finding housing. “He’s a good editor,” Smith stated referring to Falquero. “He really keeps the newspaper going.” She said that she feels good about being able to earn income by selling papers.

Anna Riley, a 2016 summer intern, said that Street Sense “focuses on issues that really matter.” In an internship, Riley wanted something that combined Journalism and Social Justice Issues, which she did not get from other internships. “It was the best internship I ever had,” she stated. She also mentioned that interns have a lot of responsibilities; “you’re not just getting coffee” or running errands. Surprisingly, Falquero said the exact same thing following his statement that “you’re a reporter from day one.” This is how interns develop their skills, through trial and error.

This unique street paper is able to bring awareness to the ongoing issue of homeless in D.C. while helping students gain experience as journalists. “It’s an incredible organization,” Riley said. It’s an organization where she would like to intern at again. Future plans for the paper entails, according to Falquero, switching from a biweekly paper to a weekly paper to provide vendors with a steady and increased income. “I just love being a Street Sense worker,” Smith stated. She thinks that working for the paper has helped her make an impact in the world.

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D.C. Homeless Youth Gain Independence and Hope

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Portraits of youth with the words Growth, Faith, Hope, and Fidelity | By Ashley Strange

By Ashley Strange

Trinity Washington University

Journalism Class Student

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Brenda Donald, opened a transitional home known as Wayne Place on Mississippi Avenue SE D.C to provide young people with the support they need to live a successful, independent, adult life.

In March of 2015, homeless youth ages 18-24 were given the opportunity to learn how to be independent in a home surrounded by people who they can call family, according to a press release on Mayor Bowser’s webpage on the D.C. Government website.

The press release also stated that Wayne Place is managed through a partnership between the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA). The transitional home is a complex of six buildings, a total of 22 apartments holding up to two residents at a time.

During a tour, I observed two community rooms with televisions and games, a computer room, and a place to wash clothes free of charge for the Transitioned Aged Youth, or known as TAYs. Wayne Place has security on site twenty-four hours, seven days a week. Another way Wayne Place ensures the safety of its residents is through a fob system that lets only the TAYs and staff members into the buildings.

TAYs have up to 18 months in the transitional living program from the day they enter. In that time, it is required that they are in school, working, or both, and they are required to meet with their assigned caseworkers regularly for goal setting.

Ms. Portia Banks, the Lead Case Manager and Facilitator of the program, said there was a need for such a program. Ms. Banks stated that between the ages of 16-24, which she calls her “lost years,” she experienced what many youth today are experiencing as they transition into adulthood. She also said that many youth ranging from 16-24 years of age suffer with mental health issues and homelessness in D.C.

According to Ms. Banks, a “transitional program gives youth [the] opportunity to recognize their strengths,” and it gives the opportunity to know how it feels to have the responsibility to pay for the things that they need. Program Coordinator, Rhonda Abney, stated that this population of youth is “underserved” in DC.

Vera Johnson, Program Manager at Wayne Place, stated that “there was a gap” between youth aging out and becoming adults. There was a high number of youth in D.C. who were living in this “gap,” which is why Wayne Place was needed. “Your generation is expected to just make it,” Ms. Johnson said to me. But this expectation is not realistic because young adults need more help to transition into adulthood and succeed.

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The Homeless vs. Mayor Muriel Bowser

Protesters holding signs of the dead homeless while marching to end homelessness and Encampment Sweeps

Protesters holding signs of the dead homeless while marching to end homelessness and Encampment Sweeps | By Ashley Strange

Com 392 | Speech Writing

Assignment 5: The Policy Speech

Write a 7-8 page speech on an important policy issue. This post will include four pages as a sample of the full speech.

A policy speech is a persuasive speech. It address a problem or issue and attempts to convince the audience to accept a course of action the speaker believes is the best answer to the problem. Policy speeches are never “one or the other,” but rather deal in gray areas. Most are structured in a “problem-solution” format. Credible sources are critical in this type of speech. Logic and reason serve as the basis for the arguments. The writing should be clear, concise, and to the point.

Encampment Sweeps:

The Homeless vs. Mayor Muriel Bowser

April 20, 2016

In 2015, 53 homeless people died on the streets of Washington, D.C., and if it had not been for the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB), and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC), their lives would have ended without anyone knowing who they were or how they died (Black et al, 2016). Each year since 1990, on or near the first day of winter, these agencies have held a Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day event to remember the lives of those homeless persons who died while living on the streets (“National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day”). These agencies advocate for homeless, but now they are faced with an even bigger task. The mayor of our city is ordering “sweeps” to eradicate the shelters homeless people depend on to store the few belongings they have.

The mayor and D.C. Government should stop encampment sweeps because they cause more harm than good by further endangering the lives of the homeless.

We live in a city of great wealth. Unfortunately, many people are not able to enjoy that wealth. Business men and women will happily walk by a homeless person who is holding out a cup for spare change. Many persons walk by without even acknowledging the existence of homeless people. According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, homelessness is defined as “an individual who lacks housing, including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.” According to a report by PBS, there was a nationwide count of 578,424 homeless people in 2014, with 7,748 in the District alone.

The Washington Post reported that in January 2015, the annual survey, or “a point-in-time count,” found that there were 1,072 single adults sleeping on the streets. The count also found that there were nine families of “39 adults and children, with no shelter.” It was a freezing night when the count took place, with chill indexes in the 20s (F). The Post also reported that 1,000 parents and children were placed in shelters by the end of the winter 2015, however, more than 900 additional families were turned away because they were told that they had family or friends with whom they could stay. The idea of finding “their own” housing is unrealistic in a city where there is a “shortage of living-wage jobs” which prevents them from providing housing for their families. Knowing this, it is sad to even imagine that Mayor Muriel Bowser, the mayor of our nation’s capitol, would pass a law that allows the removal of a homeless person’s only shelter, a tent, especially with a city full of people who are not very interested in helping them with just a few dollars.

A tent, which is defined as “a portable shelter that is used outdoors, is made of cloth, and is held up with poles and rope” (“Merriam-Webster”). A tent is perfect for outdoor camping, but many people here in the district are homeless, and the only shelter they have is a tent made of cloth. Although this is not an ideal form of shelter, it does provide some security from the outside world. The removal of a homeless person’s tent is called an encampment sweep, introduced by Mayor Bowser in 2015. In November, we saw the beginning of the city wide sweeps. The District Department of Transportation taped notices written by the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Brenda Donald, to the tents of the homeless residing near the underpasses near 27th Street and Virginia Avenue NW. Some of the residents of these camps went on apartment visits the day before the sweep took place. Although some of the homeless have been connected to the Department of Human Services (DHS), many others continue to wait for housing (Hughes, 2015). Removing the homeless’ shelters and throwing them away with their possessions is cruel. There was a 41-year-old man named Omar Abdullah who camped with his twin brother, Ali, under the bridge in Northeast, a few steps from Union Station. He and his brother had been living there for six months before workers came to bag up his belongings and move them into temporary storage. After his belongings were taken away, he expressed feeling like he was back at the bottom. Having his tent removed created more pressure to his life on the streets (Heim, 2016). Living on the streets is bad enough, and the Mayor and her plan is not making the lives of the homeless any better.

Without a tent, the homeless are exposed to many dangers. Bobbie Mascuch, a 64-year-old woman who had been living under the Union Station Bridge for 18 months, slept out in the rain and snow, and no one did anything to help her, except for one “good Samaritan” who gave her, and others living there at the camp, tents to sleep in. Once their tents were removed, she was again exposed to harsh weather conditions. The city’s excuse was that campers were breaking the law because they had no permit to camp under the bridge. Rachel Joseph, chief of staff to Deputy Mayor Donald, stated that although it is not illegal to sleep on the streets, it is however against the law to put up tents on the streets. In other words, it is fine for the homeless to sleep on the streets and be exposed to the rain, snow, and any other life threating weather conditions, but it’s not fine if they protect themselves from this weather. Joseph is quoted as saying that the city gave the homeless advanced notice of the sweep and had been working to arrange housing with contractors, but did not give information on where the homeless will go for the time being (Heim, 2016). Until contractors agree to house some of the homeless, they are left on the street without any form of protection. The best thing to do is to ensure shelter for the homeless before deciding to take their tents away

When the economy turned in 2007, life became harder for Rafael Cruz.  He was working as a welder and helped build firetrucks, but then he wasn’t able to pay $1,200 for rent with a job that only paid $10 an hour. Cruz then became one of the many homeless campers who live under the Rock Creek Parkway Bridge. Cruz considered moving to California because, once his tent was taken away, at least in California he will not freeze during the winter (Mollenbeck, 2015). If they have to leave the city they once called home in order to sleep on the warm streets of another city without the need for a tent, that’s an issue. If the homeless are not physically bothering the public, they should be able to keep their tents.

More recently, Bella Kamra, along with many of the other homeless, was kicked out of the Foggy Bottom homeless camp. He has been on the Housing Waiting list for over five years, and found himself relying on his tent, which he packed up into a shopping cart to start his search for somewhere else to sleep. Others around him were not as fortunate. Many of the homeless lose all of their possessions, like tents, beds, and clothes (Brice-Saddler, 2016).

 

Author: This practice speech was written by Ashley Strange for Communication 392 Speech Writing Class

References

“5-Year Plan to End Homelessness in the District Approved Unanimously.” Street Sense. 8 Apr. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. http://streetsense.org/article/5-year-plan-to-end-homelessness-in-the-district-approved-unanimously-2/#.VxLPTzArLIU.

“National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.” National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/projects/memorial/index.html

Black, Reginald, Colleen Cosgriff, and Ashley Strange. “Friday, December 18: Demonstrators Take The Wilson Building.” Street Sense. 5 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. http://streetsense.org/article/demonstrators-take-the-wilson-building/#.VxLNpzArLIV

Brice-Saddler, Michael. “D.C. Closes Another Foggy Bottom Homeless Camp.” Street Sense. N.p., 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016. http://streetsense.org/article/bowser-admin-washington-tent-city-closure/#.VxU_BzArLIU

Davis, Aaron C., and Jonathan O’Connell. “Homeless Shelter Plan Could Be Profitable for Bowser’s Backers.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/homeless-shelter-plan-could-be-profitable-for-bowsers-backers/2016/03/16/cbab0e76-eadc-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html

Heim, Joe. “Near the U.S. Capitol, an Encampment of the Homeless Is Removed by City Workers.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2016. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/near-the-us-capitol-a-tent-city-for-the-homeless-gets-dismantled-by-city-workers/2016/03/10/a925b902-e6e3-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html.

Hughes, Sarah Anne. “As City Disbands Homeless Encampment, Some Residents Resist Moving.” City Desk RSS. Washington City Paper, 20 Nov. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2015/11/20/as-city-disbands-homeless-encampment-some-residents-resist-moving/.

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Mollenbeck, Andrew, and Marcus J. Moore. “Tent City: Inside D.C.’s Homeless Camps.” WTOP. 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. http://wtop.com/dc/2015/08/tent-city-inside-d-c-s-homeless-camps/slide/1/.

Panagopoulos, Megan. “Emergency Response and Shelter Operations to Move D.C. Homeward.” Street Sense. 8 June 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. http://streetsense.org/article/homelessness-emergency-response-shelter-committee-homeward-dc/

 

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Thank You, Street Sense Family

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By Ashley Strange

 

Com 392 | Speech Writing

Assignment 4: The Thank You Speech

Write a 1-2 page “thank you” speech.

Description: Like the tribute speech, the Thank You speech is a ceremonial speech. It’s about showing appreciation of others. The audience expects to hear certain ideas. Mention the person(s) you are thanking. Give their names, title, or rank. State why you are thanking them. Be specific. How did the help, guidance, advice, encouragement, you received make a difference in your life or career? What did it mean to you?

Award Ceremony: Thank You, Street Sense Family

April 4, 2016

Good Evening Street Sense Family and Guest. Tonight we honor the many dedicated and homeless people who contribute to our newspaper. Each of them will be receiving awards for their commitment in times of need. There are several individuals of the Street Sense family I would like to thank because, without them, this event would not have been possible. First, I’ll like to thank Colleen, Dottie, Mark, and Ashley who are on the editorial intern team. Although it is not in their internship description, they have devoted their time to helping out by printing countless programs, live tweeting our event setup, conducting on the spot interviews with the homeless honorees, and staying late into the evening last night to help set up decorations. We are truly blessed to have a group of interns like them.

I want to also thank our photographer, John Doe. He has worked very hard to track down each of our homeless honorees to get their photos for tonight. This is not an easy task because it involves searching all over the city during our paper sales times. Finally, I want to thank our wonderful Editor in Chief, Eric Falquero. Since last week, he has worked countless hours and late into the early morning to ensure a successful event, while simultaneously working to make sure that our next Street Sense issue is printed on time. And to everyone who came out to support this event, thank you. Now, our award ceremony will begin.

 

Author: This practice speech was written by Ashley Strange for Communication 392 Speech Writing Class

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A Welcoming for Voices of Faith Gospel Choir

Campus Ministry, University of Notre Dame

Matt Cashore | Campus Ministry, University of Notre Dame

 

Com 392 | Speech Writing

Assignment #3: Welcome Speech

Write a 1-2 page Welcome Speech.

Description: The Welcome Speech is a ceremonial speech. It should be short. Usually, the speaker is welcoming a new employee or group of people. The purpose is to make everyone in the room feel like they are all part of a group, organization, or team. The mission of the organization or team is usually mentioned.

Voices of Faith Gospel Choir

March 17, 2016

Good evening everyone, and thank you all for coming out to our annual spring concert. This concert, like many in the past, will be special because our students have worked hard all semester to prepare for the concert. This concert, however, is special because the Trinity gospel choir was given the opportunity to sing along with a very famous University’s choir.

Tonight, I want to welcome a very special guest choir, Voices of Faith. Voices of Faith Gospel Choir from the University Of Norte Dame are here to worship and fellowship with the Trinity Gospel choir. They have prepared many songs for us to hear and meditate upon. This choir was selected because they are determined to praise God through their joyful sound. As you all know, the Trinity gospel choir has grown small since last semester due to many of the members graduating. We invited Voices of Faith because our tiny choir cannot do it alone.

Voices of Faith has sung at many different events. They were the featured choir for the 2012 presidential inauguration, and they performed so well that the president himself invited them to come back for the 2012 White House Christmas Concert. They  also sang for Pope Francis during his visit to Washington, D.C. As you can see, their reputation is outstanding. Having a choir such as Voices of Faith at our school is important because not only has it brought many new guest to our school, they will also inspire many more students and alumni to join in the praise of God.

Trinity students are not the only ones benefiting from having this concert with them tonight. Having Voices of Faith sing at our school has allowed them to enjoy a few days in The Nation’s Capitol. Now, as they make their way to the stage, I want all of you to give a warm welcome to our fantastic guest choir, Voices of Faith!

Author: This practice welcome speech written was by Ashley Strange for Communication 392 Speech Writing Class

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A Mother Above All Others

PicsArt_04-20-10.11.10

Com 392 | Speech Writing

Assignment #2: Tribute Speech

Write a 2-3 page tribute to a person, either living or dead.

Description of the Tribute Speech: The tribute speech, like all ceremonial speeches, is predictable, short, and planned ahead of time. The speechwriter, therefore, should make an effort to make the moment special and fresh. Two or three main points are enough for the tribute speech. The language can be more elevated than normal, but not stiff or unnatural. A good tribute speech takes into account the needs of the audience.

A Tribute to Sandra (Sondra) Elizabeth Strange

February 28, 2016

My mother made me and my siblings’ poverty stricken lives worth living. Although she is not perfect, she did all that she could do as a disabled mother. Life with my mother was difficult for many reasons; she suffered from obesity, cancer, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. As I stated before, we were poor, but through all of this, she still managed to become a better mother than those who judged and prayed for her misfortune. My mother had visible and hidden battles that she fought to the very end, and most of the time they were fought with a smile. Her internal suffering from her disabilities caused her to be physically, mentally, verbally, financially and socially abused. Although all of this is true, she still carried on because she had to; she had children to care for. I want to pay a tribute to Sondra Elizabeth Strange, a strong and creative mother. During her life she received very little credit for being a great mother. But saying all of this can never show just how great my mother was, so I’ll paint a picture that depicts the creativity and strength of my mother.

Strength in Times of Pain

My mother was very sick, and this was something my siblings and I understood at an early age. Every visit to the doctor frightened me because I knew that it would be more bad news. However, she always returned home as if nothing was wrong with her. She even presented her bad news of the cancer spreading throughout her body in a calm and almost exciting way. Although now I regret it, back then I sometimes hated my mother for sharing such horrible news in that way. I sometimes felt as if she wanted to leave us behind to enjoy her “wonderful afterlife” with God; that’s how she would often refer to heaven. At a young age, I did not think about her sharing the bad news in the way that she did as a way to keep herself from breaking down. When I was old enough to go to her appointments with her, I would observe her reaction to the doctor’s words. When I was about 13, I accompanied my mother to one particular appointment. During our entire travel there, she never said a word. When we arrived she checked in and minutes later we both went into the doctor’s office. Although my mother looked nervous, she continued to smile as the doctor spoke words that I could not understand.

When the doctor finished examining my mother she asked him a heartbreaking question that I will never forget. “How long do I have?” my mother asked. I immediately looked at her in shock, and I could tell that the doctor was surprised as well. He looked at me and asked me to go out in the hallway, but my mother said no. She wanted me to hear what the doctor would say next. For about a minute we sat in silence and then the doctor said that there was a possibility that she would not live to see her next birthday, which I remember only being a few months away. Fortunately, my mother lived about two more years after this news. Although I hated that my mother often wanted me to go with her to hear such horrible news, I know now that she brought me along because I could handle it better than my other siblings. On our way back home, my mother told me not to worry and to not repeat anything that the doctor said. What puzzled me was that she said it with a smile. It was then that I knew that my mother was a strong woman. She constantly put our feelings above her own, and to her, that’s all that mattered. Not everyone can handle situations such as this with such calmness. To know that you will not live long is frightening and it takes an enormous amount of mental strength to get through such a daunting life.

Creativity in Times of Want and Need

Like many other families living in poverty, we never had money for luxury items, and many times we had very little food. During Christmas time, my mother could only afford to buy us each one or two presents, and she would often remind us that Christmas was a time to remember Jesus, not to get upset over gifts that were not received. I truly understood this, but I can recall one Christmas that I’ll never forget. I was about six or seven and it was a time when Raggedy Ann dolls seemed to be popular again. I desperately wanted one, especially since I knew that all of my friends at school would have one when winter break was over. Instead of buying me one, because the real Raggedy Ann dolls were expensive, she made one from yarn, old shoe strings, cotton, buttons, old clothes from when we were babies, and thread. She did not just stop there but she also went on to make many dolls for me. In my eyes, and in the eyes of many of my friends, the homemade dolls were better than any Raggedy Ann doll that was made in a factory. Although these dolls have been lost during the many times that my family moved, I still treasure the memories of them in my heart. At that time, I did not understand poverty, all I knew was that there were things that I wanted but could not get for some reason. I also did not realize that my mother made these dolls because she could not afford to buy the Raggedy Ann dolls. I often smiled because I thought that my mother was cool, and other mothers, the same ones who judged her, came to her to learn to make dolls. Not one soul could tell me that my mother wasn’t the best.

My mother’s creativity did not end there; during times when we had no food, I’m sure even God himself was surprised at how creative she could get. Oftentimes, we had very little food, maybe a few cans and boxes of food. One day, my mother came up with a tradition that carried on until her death. My mother received a big box from a man who often delivered food to our door, but this time there was no food like chicken or boxed dinners, just fruit. It seemed as if the thought instantly came to her when she opened the box because she immediately said “let’s create our own holiday called Fruit Day.” She explained that this was a holiday that would come more than just once a year, which made it very different from any other holiday. My siblings and I loved this holiday because we loved fruit. So all day on this holiday, we ate nothing but fruit. It took years for me to realize that our very own holiday was born from our lack of food. Even after I found this out, we still continued to celebrate this holiday on days that we had little to no food. It takes a strong woman with a creative mind to come up with something like this to keep her children occupied.

I’m sure that many people feel that their mothers are the best for many reasons, and I hope that many will see why I feel that my mother is far greater than the best. She lived an extremely hard life, but she made the best of it for the sake of her children. She continued to put her children first, right up until cancer claimed her life on November 2nd, 2009. She was a mother above all others, and as I often glance over at her ashes, I can truly say that I am proud to be the daughter of such a fantastic mother.

Author: This practice speech written by Ashley Strange for Communication 392 Speech Writing Class

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Snow Day Announcement

White House in 2016 Blizzard

Steven Green | Flickr

Com 392 | Speech Writing

Assignment 1: The Press Release

Write a press release about a weather alert.

Description: Press releases are similar to news stories. They get to the main points quickly. Today press releases are distributed via email or online.

Trinity Post
Washington, D.C,
January 22, 2016

Subject: Weather Conditions and Accommodations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dear Trinity Post family,

As a result of the severe snowstorm predicted to hit the metropolitan area, announced by the National Server Storm Laboratory (NSSL), the organization will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. The snowstorm is predicted to produce at least twenty- four inches of snow. According to NSSL, the storm will begin Sunday afternoon until Wednesday morning. Additionally, it was reported that the snowstorm might have a tremendous effect on the electricity in various locations in the metropolitan area. Please also take notice that metro buses and rail systems will be affected by the storm. Buses and trains will be running on an hourly schedule. Metro buses might also change route depending on the severity of the road conditions.

For more information on metro schedule and routes click the link below. Road conditions are also expected to be extremely dangerous and icy. Caution is advised while driving.

http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=6029

Work Accommodations

As you all know, our organization has a strict deadline for stories to be submitted in order to distribute newspaper the next day. Therefore, in order to meet our deadlines for Monday and Tuesday, stories, gossip and other aspects of the newspaper must be submitted electrically. Stories will still be required to be turned in by our organization’s deadline. All of our stories for the next two days will be published on the Trinity Post website. Despite the changes made due to the storm, all stories are expected to be turned in on time to the editors and gatekeepers. However, in the case some employees might experience a power outage, it is important that the president of the organization is informed as soon as possible. Discretion will be made for employees who lose power. Lastly, keep in mind that keeping our deadline is essential to the organization’s productivity.

Keeping in Contact

Due to the closure of the organization for the next two days, there will be no one in the organization’s office to answer calls or emails. Accordingly, if anyone needs to get in contact with the president or the director, employees can contact them on their personal phone number and organization’s email address, which are listed below.

President Peter Smith

Number- (202)561-8956

Email: Esmith@TrinityPost.org

Director Anthony Lewis

Number (202)561-6503

Email Rlewis@TrinityPost.org

Closing Remarks

We hope that you and your family have a safe and warm extended weekend. Be sure to check your email for any further updates on organizational plans or weather related updates. Remember to drive safely.

Author: This practice speech was co-written by Eliana Rondon and Sana Silvera-Roy for Communication 392 Speech Writing Class

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