Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spare Change News Vendors Tell Stories


Algia Benjamin and Michael Shorey, SCN vendors

James Shearer, co-founder of SCN
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Spare Change News, StoryStream conducted a storytelling session with many of the homeless vendors on March 30, 2012. The vendors talked about their experiences selling the paper on the streets of Cambridge -- what it means to them to be part of the business, what their experiences have been, and their views of our city and its people.  Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) filmed the session.  Click here for a brief sample.

The event was one of six “StoryTrades” – storytelling circles – that StoryStream has organized in 2011-2012 as a result of a Year of the Regions Grant from the National Storytelling Network.  Storyteller Jo Radner interviewed four vendors, homeless and formerly homeless, who have been selling Spare Change News for many years.

Charles Stallings, SCN vendor
Several of the vendors and writers of Spare Change News will be coming to the StoryStream Tent (see below) at the June 2 Cambridge River Festival to share stories about their experiences and about the significance of this unusual newspaper.

Spare Change News was founded in 1992 by a group of homeless individuals and one housed advocate, who was a member of Boston Jobs with Peace. Since its inception, the publication has striven to simultaneously elevate the voices of homeless and otherwise economically disadvantaged people in the Greater Boston area, and to provide an opportunity for low-threshold employment to people who find it difficult to obtain more conventional work due to myriad types of adversity.

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