StreetWise: Changing Lives for Chicago's Homeless - Ruben Digital Media

StreetWise: Changing Lives for Chicago’s Homeless

By Hannah Ruben

With so many historical events happening both nationally and globally, it can be hard to keep a positive attitude. We see countless Facebook posts complaining about the issues at hand – most of which we feel we have no control over. It’s time to stop whining and start doing! All of us can make a difference. StreetWise Magazine is an excellent example of an organization changing lives by alleviating homelessness in the Chicagoland area.

Every Tuesday, the Rotary Club of Northbrook gathers for lunch to discuss fundraising activities, community events and bring in a speaker from an outside organization. This week’s speaker was Bruce Crane, a member of StreetWise’ board of directors. Previously the Chief Operations Officer at his family business Crane Carton, Bruce is now retired and spends his time volunteering with several non-profit organizations. Tuesday’s topic of discussion was about StreetWise and how this Chicago organization helps the impoverished by providing them with an opportunity for gainful self-employment.

What is StreetWise?

According to their website, “The StreetWise Transitional Employment Program (STEP) is aimed at assisting at-risk job seekers in finding and maintaining sustainable employment. We help individuals eliminate barriers and overcome obstacles to employment and self-sufficiency.” How do they do this? StreetWise empowers the unemployed and underemployed by hiring them as vendors to distribute their StreetWise Magazine at $2 per issue. This magazine is one of the largest “street papers” in the United States. The publication focuses on discussing homelessness, poverty and social reform in addition to showcasing Chicago art, culture and entertainment.

How can I get involved?

Volunteer of course! While donations are always graciously accepted, nothing can replace volunteering your time, talent and kindness. They are grateful for their awesome network of volunteers and are always accepting applications! There are a variety of ways you can help out: photography, organize a fundraiser, help out at events and much more.

Why should I care?

When Rotary member Ron Bernardi asked Bruce Crane why he’s involved with so many different boards, Bruce replied, “I believe those that can SHOULD!” If you find yourself unhappy with the social issues our country is experiencing, the best way you can make a difference is acting locally to improve the community around you.

Here’s to a wonderful 2017!

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