the wise owl

 

Shandell is a Miriam’s Kitchen guest most days. He enjoys beading. His time in Miriam’s Studio, he said, helps him to relieve the stress he can feel when dealing with “peer problems,” – people who come along, people who don’t understand.

“I find it interesting,” he said, laying a pattern of beads for what he called a wise owl necklace. “It gives me peace of mind.”

 Shandell creates a pattern of beads for his wise owl necklace. 

Shandell creates a pattern of beads for his wise owl necklace. 

Raised by his grandparents, Shandell never knew his father. He was kicked out of his home as a teenager. “I’m still lost,” he says.

At present, Shandell is in his first year of permanent supportive housing, learning the day-to-day work of taking care of having “a room of ones own,” to hearken back to freshman literature classes.

“It can be overwhelming,” director of communications Tom Murphy said. “It’s not like you’re lined up at an apartment and all your problems go away.”

In fact, he said, no longer having to worry about the immediate needs – where to sleep, for example, forces people to have to focus on longer-term needs – say, employment – which can cause extreme stress.

 Shandell wears a beaded necklace he made 

Shandell wears a beaded necklace he made 

Shandell is trying, he said. “I always make my bed every morning before I leave the house.” He wants to get his teeth fixed, get his high school diploma, study law and cyber security.

“I keep pushing.”

Many people who have moved out of homelessness come back to Miriam’s Kitchen and to the studio because they feel supported here. Michael creates collages as gifts for the staff members, who have been kind to him.

He showed off a few of his collages, one featuring celebrity faces, the other with a political bent. There are photos of Hillary and Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan with a chimpanzee, Ted Cruz with a heart over his body, elephants and donkeys.

 Michael created this collage at Miriam's Studio

Michael created this collage at Miriam's Studio

“I like Hillary,” he declared. “I think she’d be great for 2016. There’s a lot of know-how and knowledge.”

Like Shandell, Michael continues to look to the future. He’d like to own his own business, he said. Continue to Part 3

 

About the Author: Holly Leber is editorial director at The Daily Do Good. She has worked in Chattanooga, Tenn., Brussels, Belgium and New York City.

 

Miriam's Kitchen, Part 1                                                                                              Miriam's Kitchen, Part 3