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Photo by Jessica Morgan

“I call our ‘hand business,’ TeachLove. It is what I believe in to the core! Big people and little people need to know they are loved and we need to teach this! My main mediums to share are through our hand crafts of upcycled wool and fur and naturalness. I enjoy making dolls and sharing song and music! I plant food for folks and wildcraft, spending most of my time in nature and love the pace of the ‘real life.’

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Photographer shares photo with subject being photographed
Photo by Barbara Comito

Hi friends! You might have noticed we’ve been off the radar for a while now. We wanted to reassess our efforts behind INW People and its value.

In case you don’t know who runs this site, we’re the in-house marketing team for Union Gospel Mission (Hello!). Our job outside of this space is to help people experiencing homelessness in our community and inspire others to do the same. Through our work we meet a lot of incredible people from all walks of life and creating INW People made sense to us for a couple reasons: 1) It’s a place to collect and share some of our favorite portraits and quotes from those we encounter. 2) It’s a way to bridge our regional, social and economic boundaries. In addition, we want to invite others to share portraits and stories of their neighbors too!

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JD by stove in restaurant“The best meal I have ever eaten was at Joel Robuchon. My wife and I went while we were in Las Vegas. It was a meal that just stuck on my palate and my mind. The flavors of each dish and the dining experience were so phenomenal I couldn’t stop smiling, and I can’t wait to go back again.

“I got into the restaurant business to bring joy to people by serving them my food. To see people’s faces become happy with a certain comfort after they take their first bites. Owning my own restaurant has given me the chance to meet all kinds of people, as well as creating an avenue for my wife Jill and I to give back to the community.” – J.D. Leonetti, chef owner, Prohibition Gastropub

Joe in the Men's Shelter

“Part of my goal was to build relationships with these men, to buy into their lives, to find out what they’re battling or what they need encouraged in. How I can help them. I was looking at a lot of men who were battling depression or just being lost. No glimmer in their eye; they’re just existing. It just tore my heart.

“What I started to do was to build these relationships and allow the trust to be built, and now I’m seeing so much fruit coming out of these men. I’m seeing men come here, they’re broken, and seeing men restored back to their families. I’ve seen men be fathers and husbands again. I’ve seen men stay clean and sober. I’m seeing God work powerfully.” – Joe, Union Gospel Mission, Spokane

Photo by Marshall McLean

Matt in his classroom

“We have to be different to accommodate the students that the main high schools didn’t work for. Whether it’s their struggle at home with relationships, the main schools did not work out one way or another, money, transportation, relationships with peers, we have to be different and accommodate them and their needs. Every student has their own story and their own path.

“Sometimes you just get students that you just can’t help, and it hurts as an educator because you want to be the one who makes a difference in their life. They come into our classrooms with numerous chips on their shoulder and no matter how much you help them, you provide for them, they’re still angry. And the hardest part is it’s not you. It’s either their life, the system has set them wrong, or a lot of times it’s mom or dad, or the lack of mom or dad. I can’t tell you how many students we have that are couch surfing.

“A lot of the electives – the arts, the business, the marketing, the welding, the wood shops, the auto – a lot of times kids find their home in those areas. And I truly believe if we can educate the kids, connect them with something that they’re passionate about and they find their niche, they can escape their cycle of poverty. They can succeed. They can then go on, have a healthy and amazing life.

“I’m fortunate to work at Dishman Hills High School. The Administration and staff are so supportive of us [educators], we are truly blessed for that. I’ve slowly learned just how much the West Valley School District Community really supports and believes in our students. They truly do care for all of our kids and that is what makes the difference.” – Matt Filippini, Teacher at Dishman Hills High School

 

James with coffee in the snow

“What volunteering [at Forget Me Not Spokane] has done for me…well, it’s a happiness, man…I’m trying not to cry while talking about it. ‘Cause it’s enjoyment. I love it. I also volunteer with MAC Movement, which is Music, Arts, Creativity – meeting new people with a bunch of different backgrounds, hearing their experiences and everything else, you know. To meet somebody who was at Standing Rock and then hear their stories is just – wow. From that to somebody who’s been through, figuratively speaking, their own hell. The best end is to help somebody out at the end of the day. To help them out and not even expect anything, just, ‘Here ya go,’ then walk away. That to me is just amazing.” ­– James, Spokane

Photo by Adam Schwartz

Heidi in greenhouse“2017 was overall a defining year for me as an adult. One of the most impactful experiences was falling in love, and then having my heart broken. I realized I’m capable of so much more and I want to pursue my passions relentlessly.
For 2018 I’ve decided to be kind to myself and hold my family close. I’m grateful for all the struggles and pain I’ve experienced. I have come out stronger and more confident in who I am and what I want in this life.” – Heidi, Spokane
Photo by Grace Townsend

Adam on the Iron Bridge

“2017 was my year of an actual spiritual awakening – just really making the decision for a different and better life. And since I made that decision, every moment after that has been surreal – how God has been working in my life, feeling completely convinced that God is there with me and for me.

I put myself in a position that broke my dependency on all these things of the world – putting people on a pedestal, putting living situations on a pedestal, food. I just broke my relationship with all this stuff so that all that was left was God. And there were ways that He revealed himself to me through nature and a few other times that felt probably the most personal than I’ve ever felt anything in my life. And I never want to lose that. You know what I mean?” – Adam, Spokane