OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Have you seen people selling the Curbside Chronicle magazines at busy intersections?
They aren’t looking for a handout, just a hand up.
The Curbside Chronicle, which is a program of the Homeless Alliance, provides employment opportunities to people who are experiencing homelessness.
Magazine vendors learn time management, money management, and social skills and are paired with case managers to work on goals and start on housing.
The program actually came about due, in part, to a girl who was still in college named Ranya Forgotson.
“I had her as a student at Norman High and she was excellent but also caring and compassionate. And I looked at what she did for Curbside Chronicle and Curbside Flowers and I was really impressed,” said Laniel Gibson, Forgotson’s former teacher. “I’ve always been impressed because of her compassion. She has given the homeless such pride and confidence that I decided I had to nominate her.”
Tammy Brakebill, with First Fidelity Bank, gave Gibson $400 to award to Forgotson.
“Thank you, Tammy and I would like to thank Channel Four and First Fidelity Bank. Thank you,” said Gibson.
Forgotson was waiting in a conference room at the Homeless Alliance for what she thought was just a straightforward interview.
“Ranya, we’ve done a little bit of a ruse on you today. Just a little bit of one,” said KFOR’s Kent Ogle. “This might be a gentleman you recognize.”
“Hi Gibby! How are you? Oh my gosh. Hi, Mr. Gibson, I’m vaccinated,” said Ranya.
“Ranya, we are actually here because Laniel has honored you and nominated you to be our Pay It 4ward recipient from Channel 4,” said Ogle. “He’s got a little something he would like to say to you.”
“On behalf of Channel 4 and First Fidelity Bank, I want to Pay It 4ward because I am so impressed with your compassion and caring for the homeless for Curbside Chronicles and Curbside Flowers, so here is $400,” said Gibson.
“One of our biggest beliefs at Curbside and the Homeless Alliance is that everybody can be a part of the solution of ending homelessness is our community and, ultimately, when it comes to these really large scale problems, it’s going to take a community wide effort,” she said.
Kinsey Crocker works with Ranya at the Homeless Alliance and the Curbside.
“There is nobody more deserving of this award,” says Crocker. “Ranya is really one of the hardest working people I have ever met. She doesn’t stop working really. She is one of the most selfless, compassionate people who just cares about helping others. She recognizes that everyone in the community deserves a safe play to sleep at night.”
Curbside Chronicle has given birth to Curbside Flowers, Curbside Clothing, and Wrapping Paper.
Dan Straughan is the executive director of the Homeless Alliance.
“The reason all that works is Ranya,” he says. “She just had boundless energy and so much compassion for a population that is stigmatized. But she can see the good in everybody and she does it everyday. She is really an inspiration for the rest of the staff.”
“These are programs that give us all a chance to be part of the solution,” Ranya said. “So that they can make these meaningful decisions that might seem small. Purchasing a magazine, choosing where you buy flowers but ultimately, all these decisions are creating job opportunities for people transitioning out of homelessness and they are really making a difference.”
And what a difference that work is making.
Nominate someone for Pay it 4Ward!
Pay It 4Ward is a program through which KFOR-TV viewers can help someone they know who could use extra cash immediately.
Each week someone will receive $400 cash because one of their friends or co-workers wants to “Pay It 4Ward.”
When nominating, make sure to include your name, daytime phone number, who you nominate and why. Please follow all the criteria when nominating.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.