By Krystian Shaw (Kamloops, B.C.)

 

Hi my name is Krystian Shaw.

As many of you already know, I own, as well as run The Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter for the last 5 years. Now I am branching out doing podcasts which focus on disability awareness, success stories and inclusion for all, just like my newsletter does.

I am also branching out with people who are homeless, otherwise known as home free. I am teaming up with a street newspaper in Kamloops called The Big E Edition newspaper.  The Big E Edition newspaper just started in January 2019, with the goal of helping to prevent panhandling. Street people are given the opportunity to sell The Big E Edition newspaper on the streets for 3 dollars a copy and they get to keep 100% of the proceeds. Ones who have experienced homelessness but aren’t homeless now are being shown how to get the paper ready for print. Once the paper starts making a profit, they will be paid for their work.

 

I thought this was a great opportunity to involve the home free community in being a contributor to my own newsletter as well. My goal in the near future is to interview home free people or people who have had personal experience living on the street. I look forward to hearing their success stories about how they overcame homelessness. The Big E-Edition newspaper is promoting me in their paper and I am promoting them in mine. The Big E Edition newspaper and I want to give people a chance to help themselves. Enough is enough! The stigma needs to be gone.

 

I find it more beneficial to not just focus on disability topics, but on all social issues in society within my work. People in society often think being home free is the homeless’ fault. The homeless must be on drugs or drink too much and that’s what they would rather spend their money on than working towards a home. But that isn’t always the case. Most home free people have a mental illness and they don’t know how to reach out for help. In my newsletter and on my podcasts, I’m hoping to share their stories in hopes that people will be less judgemental and show some empathy.

 

On February 23rd, I am excited about helping to fundraise for the New Life Mission. People pledge money for my self-advocate team to walk 2 KM. The fundraiser is called the Coldest Night of the Year and all proceeds go towards helping the homeless get a hot meal and stay warm. Anyone who would like to share a story on my podcast or write a positive article for my newsletter about any social issue, please contact me. You don’t have to live in Kamloops to be involved. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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