Good News: Homeless Learn Positive Thinking

by Senaye Gebre-Michael

On a warm Tuesday morning last week, the Denver VOICE vendor office hosted its regular meeting. This meeting is more like a learning experience, titled “Growth Class.” The session focuses on opening up vendors who are ready to be motivated and influenced in the most sincere way.

After a circle of 15-plus people introduced themselves, I was asked to introduce myself—I was right outside the circle taking notes and observing. I quickly became a part of the group once I told them my name Senaye and an intern for the VOICE. They smiled and said thank you for volunteering and helping us.

The speaker was Ruth Kanatser, SAP Director from Harm Reduction Action Center. Ruth brought up some important issues. She used a few phrases that stuck out to me after explaining how she used to be homeless and clearly was now becoming more self-sufficient daily. The main content was circled around health. Healthiness equals Happiness, is what she explained. Homelessness is a recovery process, a stressful lifestyle. Too often our thoughts are negative—90% of the time when it comes to our humanistic affirmations. She gave the example of a man by the name of ‘LA’ who was the last to introduce himself. The speaker asked, who are you? He replied nobody and giggled. That right there is a strong example of a negative affirmation. Too often our affirmations are false and negative. The key to beating this burden is to equip ourselves with the right weaponry, which happens to be positive affirmations.

She said when someone says the word “try,” they use a word halfway to failure because it’s so easy to back out. She explained, if something doesn’t work out it’s not all your fault. Be constructively positive, say something great about yourself and mean it! Say it with emotion. She did a writing workshop with everyone to strengthen her message.

My first experience from the VOICE's regular growth class was incredible. It makes me humble, appreciative and warmer towards certain individuals as they learn to love themselves and their lives, with or without money. We all need to give thanks for the positives in life. I will always count my blessings and I will always try and spread that message to each individual I meet.