Someone Like You – The One With Dj

It’s Friday, which means another episode of Someone Like You is ready for download. This week is The One With Dj and we meet a young man who has been to hell and back, back again and got back on the wagon.

I’m glad you’re here, especially those who have stuck with me these last three months and have fared my nervous laughter and questionable audio. I appreciate you all SO much. And for those of you who might be new, my name is Shannon and I’m the voice who narrates this show. Someone Like You is about putting a face to the homeless and answering these three questions: Who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? How do we end homelessness?

For the last few months we have been able to meet a new voice who shares their story of survival ever other Friday, and today is a little bittersweet because my guest today is the last interview I have to share for the year. But don’t worry! I’ll be working on getting more interviews next year so I will be back for season 2. Follow me on Instagram @sjrandol to know the second season two airs.

Dj grew up in Highland Park, spent some time in Hollywood and now lives in a sweet apartment next to Staples Center.

He’s working at Trader Joe’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond, AND has prime physical custody of his 18-month old son. He spends his free time getting his little guy familiar with sports and prepping him for pre-school/daycare.

There are nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in the city of Los Angeles and 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year.

Meet Dj.


Come be my friend on Instagram, I’m on Facebook but I think I play better on IG, lol. I also just launched a podcast centered around getting to know our homeless youth in hopes to better understand how to stop it by getting to know the young people who survived it. Listen to the very first episode, here.  

The One With Ms. Lon – Someone Like You

It’s Friday, which means another episode of Someone Like You is ready for download. This week is The One With Ms. Lon and we meet Covenant House California’s Alumni Coordinator and RA, Lon Usher.

She’s originally from Kentucky, ran away from home when she was 16 years old and has been working with Covenant House California for thirty years. We discuss what she’s learned throughout her years working with homeless youth, the stories that have affected her the most and what she believes will help end youth homelessness.

If you’re new here, this podcast is about putting a face (or voice) to youth homelessness in the hopes it’ll be harder to ignore and together we can be the solution.

Every other Friday a new episode will air with a new voice sharing their story of surviving life on the streets AND how they got back on their feet. This show is all about answering these three questions: who are the homeless, how did they become homeless, and how do we begin to end homelessness? (except this one because we’re speaking to the fabulous Ms. Lon!)

There is nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in Los Angeles, and nearly 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I’m willing to bet these kids are a lot like you and me. The solution starts with us and I truly believe we’re better together.

PS: If you haven’t subscribed, rated or reviewed the podcast please do so now! Thanks, friends! I’ll see you back on the radio in two weeks for another voice to meet.

The One With Luke (Not Skywalker) – Someone Like You

Hello friends! By the time you’re reading this, I will be just waking up from the annual Sleep Out fundraiser I participate in each year that benefits homeless youth programs at Covenant House California. If you’d like to support my Sleep Out campaign for homeless youth, you can donate here. There’s still time! <3

Every other Friday a new episode will air with a new voice sharing their story of surviving life on the streets AND how they got back on their feet. This show is all about answering these three questions: who are the homeless, how did they become homeless, and how do we begin to end homelessness?

This week on Someone Like You we meet Luke. A great dude who was born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a small stint in Missouri. He was a part of the Jump Rope Club and was a running back on his high school’s football team.

Luke was a pleasure to talk to, I can’t even begin to describe how much fun I had joking back and forth with him. There was so much laughter, he’s a good dude. That being said, he’s walked a lot of life and I want you to hear his story. After building a relationship with someone in the music industry he hopped on a plane to L.A. to chase his dreams.

It went south moments after he landed in the entertainment capital of the world.

The interview format is a little more casual this episode, trying to figure out what format is more pleasurable for those listening. So let me know how you like this episode layout versus the previous four episodes.

There is nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in Los Angeles, and nearly 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I’m willing to bet these kids are a lot like you and me. The solution starts with us and I truly believe we’re better together.

Welcome to the fifth episode of Someone Like You. I’m glad you’re here. 

PS: If you haven’t subscribed, rated or reviewed the podcast please do so now! Thanks, friends! I’ll see you back on the radio in two weeks for another voice to meet.


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The One With Eustolia – Someone Like You Podcast Ep. 4

Like I promised last week, we are back to regular programming and this week we meet another Covenant House California Alumni, Eustolia. She is now twenty-five years old and living in her very own apartment while attending Pasadena City College for her AA in welding.

For those who may have forgotten: Someone Like You is about putting a face to the homeless and answering these three questions: Who are the homeless? How did they become homeless and how do we begin to end homelessness? 

There are 4.2 million young people in our country who will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I believe we can make a difference by learning who these young people were and their story.

We all have a beginning that influences the rest of our story. Be sure to listen to this week’s episode and subscribe on Stitcher, Apple, and Spotify.

Here is a little sample of what you’ll hear on this week’s episode to get you started:

Eustolia, can you share what was your worst night on the street what you remember the most? It was back when I was still a minor and using drugs. I would stay in the hallways of apartment buildings and I still remember the pain in my back, I feel the cold, and then having to go to school the next day. I couldn’t go home you know? All the fights with my Dad and other stuff just made me feel like I needed to suck it up.

Her father never provided a stable or safe living environment her whole childhood. They were constantly bouncing from house to house because rent could never be paid and she was placed around in different foster care homes before she got put into the juvenile detention system. 

There’s a pattern here. A lack of parental and adult guidance. She never had a stable living arrangement and her father constantly let her down in a big way, I’m not talking like he missed one of her soccer games I’m talking like her safety was never his concern. When you have a parent who can’t provide for you and you as the child can see the decisions they’re making aren’t smart then it’s incredibly difficult to understand the world around you.

Not to mention, she attended a poor school where funding was low and the teachers were more like babysitters than educators, who didn’t care about the success of their students, regardless because they were under the assumption they’d end up dead or in jail. That’s a tough realization to notice as a kid. She needed an adult who believed in her.

Listen to episode four The One With Eustolia, to hear more of her story and where/what she’s doing today.

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

The One With Why – Someone Like You Podcast

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.
Why am I so passionate about homeless youth? Well, it’s layered. This week’s episode tells my first experience that unlocked a much more personal reason.
When I was twenty I hit a rough patch. I dumped my boyfriend (now Husband <3) because he loved me too much, yes you read that right and didn’t want to stay at my apartment because my roommate and her boyfriend lived there. So without mine, it felt like I was intruding on their home, so I stayed out.
Ate out, drank out, went out. For the first time in my entire life, I was irresponsible with money and it got me in trouble. My roommate wanted to move in with her boyfriend and I needed to find another place to live, but I didn’t have enough to put down another first month’s rent and security deposit.
This is where it gets tricky, and what I buried for years until participating in my first Sleep Out. Listen to today’s episode to hear the full story and I promise, next episode will follow the regular programming.
Thanks, friends!
Ps: if you’d like to donate to my 2018 Sleep Out campaign via Covenant House California, you can support me here: https://www.sleepout.org/participant/17254 – every donation instantly doubles because of Marconi Foundation for Kids

Someone Like You podcast is dedicated to answering these three questions: who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? What can we do to end homelessness? So join me as I try to find the solution, one interview at a time. 

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

Will You Support My Sleep Out Campaign via Covenant House California?

I need your help. Will, you support my Sleep Out campaign via Covenant House California and donate today? Donate here. On November 15th, I have accepted Covenant House’s challenge to spend a night sleeping on the street so homeless youth don’t have to.

The Sleep Out is not about pretending to be homeless. It’s an act of solidarity with the 4.2 million young people who experience homelessness each year. It’s a decision that we can’t stay indoors while so many kids remain outside.

One night can make a difference.

If you’re curious as to what the Sleep Out is all about, watch this video from last year’s Sleep Out (where I helped raise $30,000 for Covenant House California!).

They say ‘third times a charm’ and I’m hoping my third years means breaking the bank in donations to benefit Covenant House California and its homeless youth programs, and I need your help to break my fundraising goal. 

57% of homeless kids spend one day of every month without food.

Some may remember my first Sleep Out experience, I shared a video and blog the morning after and shared how much impact this one night had on me. You can read it and watch the video here

It opened my eyes in a big way. Covenant House offers these young people so much more than a safe place to sleep – they welcome each young person with absolute respect and unconditional love, and their continuum of care provides essential services to help young people transition from homelessness to independence.

46% of homeless kids on the street are fleeing violence at home.

Can you imagine being in high school and making the decision that being on the streets is safer than in your own home, and then following through with it?

Every donation matters, it doesn’t matter if you give $25, $50, or a whopping $100. It makes a difference. Plus, your donation instantly doubles because the foundation I work for is providing a match. So your $50 becomes $100 in the matter of one click.

Please help me help these kids in need by making a donation in support of my efforts!

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. I also just launched a podcast centered around understanding the homeless youth epidemic, subscribe and join me on this brand new journey! 

The One With Mark Anthony – Someone Like You podcast

It’s Friday and the SECOND episode of Someone Like You has dropped! This week we meet Mark. He’s a twenty-two-year-old Pasadena college student who wants to one day run his own business that incorporates his art.

In his words, he was chronically homeless all throughout school and when he entered his Senior year of high school his Mom kicked him out from their living arrangement at the time, so he had to figure out where to go after the final bell rang.

Growing up he didn’t have a father figure or a role model because his father went to jail and got deported. Mark’s uncle (which he now realizes could’ve been a role model) died after a horrific motorcycle accident around the same time he lost his father. He was only seven years old.

The house he claims as his ‘childhood home’ had his grandmother, big sister, aunt and her son, his mom, and uncle all living under one roof. The reason quotations are around childhood home is because Mark rarely ever stayed there while he was growing up.

His story is complicated, as many of the youth who have experienced homelessness are. Take a listen and meet Mark, and if something strikes you tell us about it in the comment section below.

There are nearly 35,000 kids searching for a safe place to sleep each night in the U.S. alone, and if you’re living in California like me, Los Angeles has about 6,000 youth out on the street each night and the Bay area has about 3,500 kids.

Someone Like You podcast is dedicated to answering these three questions: who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? What can we do to end homelessness? So join me as I try to find the solution, one interview at a time. 


play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

The One With Armond Bell – Someone Like You

I’ve rewritten this opening line a thousand times because this is too unreal. Back in March, I had an idea that maybe I could make a difference regarding the homeless youth problem by creating a podcast that’ll help but a face to homelessness by interviewing those who have experienced it. Well…

Today’s the day. It’s here! The very first episode of Someone Like You (SLY) is available for download anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Never in a million years did I think this was ever going to get off the ground, so I hope you’ll join me on this journey by subscribing, rating, reviewing, and sharing it with friends.

Someone Like You is a podcast that’s exploring the homeless youth epidemic that’s currently suffocating and stumping our country. Every other Friday I’m going to interview an individual who has experienced homelessness in hopes to get a better understanding of how to end it.

Every night nearly 6,000 kids search for a safe place to sleep each night in Los Angeles and I believe the solution starts with you and me. It’s important we get to know these young people in order to put a face to homelessness because I’m willing to bet once we get to know them, they’re Someone Like You.

People are hard to hate up close, move in. – Brene Brown

Stay tuned.

Cultivate it.

The FYI About Someone Like You

Okay, it’s time to spill the beans on what I’ve been working on the past 6 weeks…

I’m starting a podcast called Someone Like You and every week I’ll be interviewing a young person who’s experiencing life-changing opportunities thanks to a nonprofit.

At the 30,000 foot perspective, the podcast is about starting a conversation to address the epidemic of youth homelessness across America and specifically within Orange County, California.

I live here and hear the bias’ people perpetuate on a semi-regular basis. It’s important to understand no child asks to be homeless, and that the leading causes of youth homelessness include abandonment, mental health issues, and abuse.

Children don’t get to pick their parents and nobody makes you take a test before becoming one.

Per a report conducted by Covenant House on a single night in January 2016, there were over 35,000 unaccompanied kids out on the streets, and 89 percent of those 35K were between the ages 18 and 24, the remaining 11 percent were under the age of 18.

This isn’t okay.

Two years ago I participated in Covenant House California’s Sleep Out fundraiser, a national movement made up of individuals who commit to spending one night out on the streets while raising money that goes directly to getting kids off the streets, and ever since that ONE night I won’t stop trying to get the word out.

You can read about my first experience out on the streets of Los Angeles, here.

I didn’t understand. I grew up in NYC and was taught to not make eye-contact, never give anyone free money, and that a bum wanted to be on the streets or was probably there for a quick buck or addicted to drugs.

The common thread I learned that night at Covenant House was that nobody asked or deserved to be homeless. Instead, I realized it was easier to digest if they had ‘done something’ to be there because it made them less human, and didn’t affect me as much if there was a reason they were on the streets.

Almost 10 years ago I was almost homeless and about to be living out of my car with my dog before a friend stepped in and let me stay on her couch for a month while my financials got back in order.

I have never felt so shitty or like a huge whopping failure in my whole life. This podcast will hopefully work my way out of a job because I don’t want youth homelessness to be a thing. We’re all a few missed paychecks away from facing the same situation.

Let’s get to the root of the problem. Nobody deserves to be homeless. So join me as I put a face to these nonprofits working hard to provide free primary health care, legal assistance, education and job training programs for people who need help getting off the streets.

What if the kid who can cure cancer is out there now, sleeping on the streets, and just needs a little love and helping hand to put him back on track to saving the world.

Cultivate it.

Keep a lookout for Someone Like You podcast, nothing like it has been done so join me in changing the world one podcast at a time. I’ll be sure to update when the first few episodes are live!

 

 

The Sleep Out

This was my morning after spending one night out on the streets of Los Angeles, humbled and grounded doesn’t even begin to describe it. 

A cardboard box, one sleeping bag and a slab of dense frigid concrete are all I have to get me through the night. The pavement digs into every nook and cranny of my body no matter how I twist and turn, from the waist down my body is numb. A mountain of layered clothing can’t get me through the night warm.

Freeway noise on the interstate ramp above my head invaded my ears. A steady melody of squealing car brakes fills the night’s rhythm a few feet from where I’m trying to sleep.  Shoe scuffs from a passerby to close for comfort causes every inch of my body to go on high alert.

I was homeless for one night and was terrible at it.

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On November 17th, 2016, I slept out on the streets of Los Angeles to help Covenant House California raise funding for its homeless youth programs. According to studies nearly 6,000 kids search for a safe place to sleep, most hunkering down in the worst parts of L.A. hoping to make it through the night. This broke my heart. How could so many be homeless in one city?

Feeling motivated and desperate to make a dent in the homeless youth numbers, I created a fundraising page through Facebook. This made my palms sweat and I agonized for weeks about posting anything to raise donations for the cause. I hated the idea of asking people for money. Self doubt crept in and the tiny voices in my head started to make me second guess my ability to raise any.

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“Nobody will donate. You’re going to look like a failure and everyone will know because it’s Facebook.”

“When’s the last time you’ve even seen these people? Or been in the same state? Now you expect them to give you money?”

Time was running out and I needed to just do it. I hit submit and prayed for the best. The next morning, I realized my mistake by stupidly assuming people with money were the only ones who could donate.

The next morning $50 had been donated by my husband’s life long friend’s mother, who I had only met a handful of times. Why would someone I barely know, help me raise money? Over the next week donations poured in from family, friends and former coworkers, most I hadn’t seen in years. The unconditional feeling of support was overwhelming, in the best way possible.

Those who couldn’t afford to donate shared the fundraising page with their Facebook friends in hopes someone on their timeline could. The kicker for me was knowing a few of my friends who donated had struggles of their own. They had little mouths to feed, were raising their families alone and stressed about keeping their own roof over their heads.

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I was wrong to assume only people with a fat bank account could help those in need, and I got reminded each time someone else made a donation. It had nothing to do with what financial bracket they fit into, it was about wanting to make a difference.

Thinking back to my worries about looking foolish “online” makes me cringe. It never had anything to do with me and unfortunately that wasn’t the only time a jolt of reality slapped me upside the head during the Sleep Out. I suppose I needed reminding of the kind people living in America.

Growing up close to the Big Apple meant weekend trips to the city. It wasn’t uncommon to see someone tattered, dirty and begging for money every few blocks. In my teens I watched a news story about “professional panhandlers,” who weren’t homeless and only looking to make a quick buck on the side. I was disgusted and that story stayed with me until November 17th, 2016.

The word bum and beggar got thrown around a lot and looking back, these choice words helped make it easier to separate myself from “them,” as if they weren’t “as human.” I assumed a homeless person was homeless by choice or had messed up their life because of drugs and therefor deserved their present situation.

I could not have been more wrong. I forgot the magic rule about assuming.

During the Sleep Out I was fortunate enough to meet many of the kids who were benefiting from the homeless youth programs. The young man at my table had been living on the streets since he was seventeen.  After a series of unfortunate events, his unmedicated-paranoid-schizophrenic mother left him at a park claiming she was “done” and checking herself into a mental facility. Dad was long gone, too.

Can you imagine your seventeen self surviving on the streets every night for three years? This kid also made sure to get to school every morning, not showered, wearing the same clothes and half starved. Now imagine being homeless and having to get through high school in those conditions. Each story had the same common thread, none of them chose to be homeless, because who would?

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After making it through the Sleep Out, I woke up focused on beating traffic and left as quickly as possible. I wanted to get home and get the show on the road, eager to get back into the swing of things. It wasn’t until my car rolled into its familiar slot out front of my apartment did the full weight of the night before sink in. Tears poured down my face and the emotions from the night before constricted my throat.

I only did one night on the streets knowing the next morning a warm bed and hot shower would be waiting. These kids do it every night with no relief in sight. The wonderful people I met that night do their part to make the world a brighter place. I feel fortunate to have met them. They taught me more than one valuable lesson.

It’s easy to take for granted the little things in life. A bed, hot shower and a clean pair of underwear mean more to me now than ever before. We all have our struggles, but it’s important to remember it could always be worse.

There are plenty of kind people left in America. I know, I spent the night out on the streets with a handful of them.

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