Positivity and Hope By Claire McKenna Positivity seems to be a bit of a buzz word lately, in my opinion. But I fi rmly believe that in any situation we have a choice to seek to fi nd the positive or the negative. Granted, lately the positive has been a little more diffi cult to uncover, but I promise you it is there. I think this is a great time for this issue and a time for refl ection about the positive aspects of our lives. As spring quickly seems to be announcing its arrival, new growth happens everywhere, including TSN. We have often seen an infl ux in new vendors and vendor sales as the world starts to step out into the sunshine again. Last year we didn’t experience that infl ux for obvious reasons and I was concerned that we may not experience a spring increase this year because things have been so different. But, sure enough, I have seen new vendors joining the team, old faces popping back up after months of no contact, and papers leaving the offi ce faster than before. In this pattern, I fi nd positivity because, no matter what, some things stay the same. This year holds special meaning because of the last twelve months. This time last year we did not get to experience the revival of community activities and the opportunity to soak up the sunshine with those closest to us. Although we may not be completely back to normal, there is a change in the atmosphere around Toledo Streets Newspaper as more and more vendors get the opportunity to get vaccinated. We’re also hearing announcements about larger events returning. Here at Toledo Streets Newspaper, we are beginning talks of how we can open up our space again as an intentional place for acceptance and community while keeping everyone safe. We are excited to see the positivity that will come out of vendors getting to experience our newness of our offi ce with the comfort of family. It is exciting to know that all the hard work put in by so many people is about to be experienced and enjoyed. And yet, I am struck with the feeling that although there are exciting and positive things coming, the positivity never left our TSN community. It may be weird to say but I think people experiencing homelessness were both the most affected and least affected people by the pandemic. Many of their resources were cut down and many weren’t eligible for the limited support that was available for the majority of the population. However, I think they were better prepared for hardship and more adaptable. Each one of them has been forced to overcome adverse situations and have remained hopeful. To me their continued hope through diffi cult times is the epitome of positivity. Positivity in our community is not necessarily always being “sunshine and roses,” but instead making it through the hard days with a hopeful and positive outlook that better days are coming. Positivity in our community is also reveling in the smaller moments. Moments that remind us of the good things in life and the human compassion that surrounds us. Whether that’s getting a favorite pudding fl avor in a Thursday lunch provided by donors or someone tipping $5.00 and a smile for the paper. Positivity isn’t something new or shiny here. It is an ever-present force both on the micro and macro level that keeps us moving. The Buck Starts Here Toledo Streets and its vendors are a powerful, community driven solution to the problem of homelessness. Our vendors earn their way out of their individual situations through a collaboration of journalism, local business partners and their own hard work. Use these four steps to be a part of the solution. Meet Vendors Buy a Paper Get Informed Take Action • Vendors -- the people who sell the paper -- are at the core of Toledo Streets' mission. Each year more than 70 indiviuals work as vendors with Toledo Streets. At any given time, more than 25 vendors are at work, in the rain, snow, or heat. Vendors play an active role in the management of TS, meeting regularly to discuss issues of concern and even serving on our board. • With the money made selling the newspaper, vendors are able to secure basic needs, independence and dignity, and work toward obtaining housing. Vendors buy papers for a quarter and sell them for a $1, keeping all income and tips for each sale. Toledo Streets tries to tie its editorial to three basic principals: • Inspiring Hope, Fostering Community, and Cultivating Change. We are a member of INSP, our global organization of street papers around the world which provides us with content relevent to social justice, homelessness, and street community around the world. • Donate to the organization and give vendors experiencing homelessness and poverty a hand up. It supports not only the paper but also issues throughout NW Ohio. • Volunteer your time and expertise and help the organization grow. • Share Toledo Streets with your network, and tell people about the organization. Page 3

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