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Springtime showers bring flowers

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Spring time palm

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After springtime showers

Springtime poppies

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The reward of showers – Parry’s Phacelia and California Poppies

Spring time wisteria

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Beautiful springtime bounty, Wisteria


Beach Volleyball tournaments held at Main Beach last weekend were a hit

Photos by Neil Olson

The Men’s and Women’s 2019 California Beach Volleyball Association “A” level tournaments were held at Main Beach Laguna over the weekend with incredible weather and good sized crowds enjoying some very competitive beach volleyball. 

Beach Volleyball ball

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The competition was strong and the fun was radiant

Hometown locals ruled the beach, with Jacquelyn Strawn and Lauren McCarthy taking first in the girl’s division and earning their coveted “AA” beach rating. Laguna’s Ayrton Garcia and Joshua Meiswinkle held off Chris Trauger and Jake Jones from Simi Valley in front of a strong and raucous local crowd to earn their first “AA” rating. 

Beach Volleyball girls

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(L-R) Amber Shafer, Marya Samuelson, and champions Jacquelyn Strawn and Lauren McCarthy

For years, the best players in the world have come to Laguna Beach to be a part of these tournaments. 

The beach tournaments are organized and sanctioned by the California Beach Volleyball Association (www.cbva.com), a grassroots nonprofit supporting the sport of beach volleyball, and The City of Laguna Beach.

Beach Volleyball guys

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(L-R) Ayrton Garcia, Joshua Meiswinkle, Jake Jones, and Chris Trauger

The tournament’s full results:

April 7 | MALE - A

Finish Earned

--Ayrton Garcia, Joshua Meiswinkel 1 AA

--Chris Trauger, Jake Jones 2 A

--Ken Holloway, Nick Ramsey 3 A

--Joshua McDevitt, Eduardo Mota 3 A

--Brett Kirkconnell, Mark McDevitt 5 B

--Jason Smith, Nick Collins 5 B

--Taylor Storm, Keith Boothroyd 5 B

--Andrew Reavis, James Bardin 5 B

Beach Volleyball men

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Men’s A division group picture, before the battles

April 6 | Female - A

Finish Earned

--Jacquelyn Strawn, Lauren McCarthy 1 AA

--Amber Shaffer, Marya Samuelson 2 A

--Danielle Gallo, Sheri Myers 3 A

--Alanna Shields, Hannah Ledesma 3 A

--Brooke Birch, Victoria Ford Burke 5 B

--Taylor Lewis, Jennifer Smith 5 B

Beach Volleyball women

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Women’s A Division group picture

Mark your calendars for the Women’s 46th Annual Laguna Open on May 11, the Men’s 65th Annual Laguna Open June 1-2, the Girl’s CBVA 14’s, 16’s, and 18’s July 2-5, King and Queen of the Beach in October (exact date TBA), and the Christmas Polar Bear 4-Person Toy Drive on December 15. 

For more information on the tournaments, contact Kirk Morgan, Director, at (714) 381-4000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Alexis Braun, City of Laguna Beach Recreation Supervisor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit www.cbva.com or www.lagunaopen.org


Laguna Beach Historical Society presents The Laguna Canyon Project: Refining Artivism panel discussion on April 25

The Laguna Beach Historical Society will host the publisher and creators of the book The Laguna Canyon Project: Refining Artivism for a panel discussion, talk, and slideshow at the Susi Q Community Center on Thursday, April 25, beginning at 7 p.m. Guest speakers include Ron Chilcote, Tom Lamb, Liz Goldner, Paul Freeman, and Mike Phillips. The event is open to the public at no cost.

The Laguna Canyon Project: Refinishing Artivism, published in 2018 by Laguna Wilderness Press, describes in essays and photographs The Laguna Canyon Project, a multiphased environmental art project (1980-2010). That project inspired Laguna Beach residents to take charge of their own destiny and to avert an ecological disaster. The main essay in the book is by Mark Chamberlain (1942-2018).

Laguna Beach Historical Society Mark

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The main essay in the book is by Mark Chamberlain

Chamberlain was a photographic/environmental/installation artist, gallery owner, and curator. He co-founded BC Space Gallery and Photographic Art Services, Laguna Beach in 1973 with Jerry Burchfield, and co-founded the “Laguna Canyon Project: The Continuous Document” (1980-2010) to photographically document Laguna Canyon Road, the main access route from the Santa Ana Freeway.

As the book explains, a key aspect of the Canyon Project was the creation of “The Tell,” a 636-foot long photomural, erected in 1989 in Sycamore Flats in today’s 7,000-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. This public art installation, the activism it inspired, and its role as the destination for the November 1989 “Walk to Save the Canyon” are still fresh in the minds of many participants.

Guest speakers

Ron Chilcote: UC Riverside professor emeritus founded Laguna Wilderness Press (LWP) in 2003 with Jerry Burchfield. The nonprofit publishes books emphasizing photography to raise public awareness of the importance of conservation and the protection of the environment. The press has two aims: to draw attention to the importance of preserving the pristine land surrounding Laguna Beach, and to help other communities preserve their own open spaces.

Laguna Beach Historical Society book

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“The Laguna Canyon Project: Refining Artivism” 

Tom Lamb: photographer and friend of Laguna Wilderness Press, explains, “In the late 1970s over campfires in the mountains of Colorado, I met Jerry Burchfield. Little did I know that in 1984, I would move to Laguna Beach and become directly involved with Mark and Jerry and their Laguna Canyon Project. Over 35 years, as kindred environmental spirits, we worked together on numerous projects, including photographically documenting the Laguna Canyon Road, and the creation of ‘The Tell.’” 

Liz Goldner: The award-winning art and cultural journalist writes about art in Laguna, Southern California, and nationwide for: the Los Angeles Times, Artillery magazine, Art Patron magazines, Premiere OC, Visual Art Source, and many other publications. She was project manager, contributor, and one of the editors of the Laguna Canyon Project book. She was the former partner of Mark Chamberlain.

Paul Freeman: The independent consultant, speaker and writer, and former mayor of Laguna Beach was the lead negotiator between Laguna Beach and The Irvine Company for the Laguna Canyon purchase in the later 1980s and early 1990s. He contributed an essay describing that purchase to the Laguna Canyon Project book.

Mike Phillips: The former executive director of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy and community news writer at “Laguna Coastline” during the creation of “The Tell” contributed to the Laguna Canyon Project book.

For more information, including how to become a member of the Laguna Beach Historical Society, visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org. Membership packages start at just $25 per year.

Susi Q Community Center is located at 380 Third St.


Mayor Bob Whalen to speak at State of the City Luncheon on May 2 at the Montage

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will host its annual “State of the City” luncheon on Thursday, May 2, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Montage Laguna Beach.

The luncheon is a great opportunity to get an up-close look at city activities. Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen and staff will present a State of the City address. The Chamber of Commerce will provide a brief overview of the recent highlights of the past 12 months and goals for the near future.

As Mayor Bob Whalen states, “The Chamber’s State of the City Luncheon is always a packed house and offers a unique opportunity to step back and look at the big picture for our community. We welcome the chance to update everyone on the City’s recent efforts and future plans and to hear from our business community as to their priorities and needs. This is a two for one event – informative and fun!”

Mayor Bob Whalen

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Mayor Bob Whalen

This annual tradition brings out members across the community, including nonprofits, arts and cultural organizations, business and hospitality industry reps, and other civic-minded individuals. The event is open to the public.

As host of the event, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce promotes, represents, and supports local businesses in Laguna, and advocates on their behalf. Celebrating its 102nd year of operation, the Chamber also serves as the business resource center for the community. 

On an ongoing basis, the Chamber hosts educational seminars, luncheons, and networking events for the local businesses and citizens.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce has served the businesses of Laguna Beach since 1917 as a tool for promoting commerce and allowing members to connect to one another and the community.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce serves over 200-member companies. Its core mission is to promote, represent, and support members of the business community.

Admission to the Luncheon is $85 per person. Registration is open through the Chamber’s website at www.lagunabeachchamber.org or by contacting the Chamber at (949) 494-1018. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are also available. 

For questions or more information on the Laguna Beach Chamber, contact (949) 494-1018 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Montage is located at 30801 South Coast Hwy.


Fun, food and dancing at Pantry Palooza on April 26 will benefit Laguna Food Pantry

Friends, neighbors, and supporters of Laguna Food Pantry are invited to Pantry Palooza, a happy hour of good food, drinks, dancing and camaraderie to celebrate and raise funds for the Laguna Food Pantry. The party takes place from 5 - 7 p.m., Friday, April 26 at Skyloft. 

For more than 25 years, Laguna Food Pantry has been a safety net for anyone – seniors, underemployed or people out of work, disabled, students, individuals, and families – who need free, fresh, nutritious food.   

Fun food group

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(L-R) Margie and Charlie Bell and Ginger and Tom Osborne at last year’s bash

“Thanks to in-kind and financial donations, we help our neighbors put food on the table for themselves and their families,” said Anne Belyea, executive director of Laguna Food Pantry. “Events like Pantry Palooza allow us to continue offering our shoppers fresh produce, meats, dairy, breads, eggs and more in our pantry.” 

For 25 years, Laguna Food Pantry has offered free, fresh, nutritious groceries to families and individuals in need who live, work, and attend school in or near Laguna Beach. The Pantry serves approximately 500 families each week and collects and gives away about 4,000 lbs. of food every weekday. 

Fun food agave

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The Agave Bros entertain at 2018 Pantry Palooza

Volunteers welcome shoppers, in addition to picking up and sorting food purchased from regional food banks and donated by local markets and private contributors. Laguna Food Pantry is funded by generous benefactors or supporters, corporate and private foundation grants, churches, schools, and local government. Visit or volunteer at Laguna Food Pantry located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

Don’t miss the chance to support a great cause that helps neighbors who need love and assistance. 

Tickets are available for $75 per person, or donations will be accepted at http://bit.ly/PantryPalooza. Tickets will be available at the door for $100. 

Skyloft is located at 422 S Coast Hwy.

For more information on Food Pantry, go towww.lagunafoodpantry.org.


Laguna Beach Business Club announces Gail Landau as speaker for April 18 meeting

The Laguna Beach Business Club is proud to announce attorney Gail Allyn Landau, founder and owner of Catmosphere Laguna, Orange County’s first cat café, as speaker at the club’s April 18 meeting. 

Laguna Beach Business Club holds a breakfast meeting the third Thursday each month at 7:30 a.m. and hosts speakers that discuss topics valuable to achieving success in your personal and professional lives. Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. Meetings are hosted at Seven7Seven and non-members are welcome. 

Ms. Landau graduated from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1980 and completed her mediator training in 2012 at Pepperdine University School of Law. She was one of the founders and a managing partner of Landau, Omahana & Kopka, LLC in Chicago, Illinois and headed the Medical Malpractice Litigation Division for 18 years. 

Laguna Beach Gail

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Photo courtesy of Catmosphere

Gail Allyn Landau, founder and owner of Catmosphere Laguna

Landau is a member of the Federal Trial Bar, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Humane Society (local and National divisions), and has been honored by PETA. She is a popular speaker and roundtable moderator on subjects ranging from Professional Liability and Medical Malpractice/Tort Reform to Feline/Human Relations and Animal Advocacy. 

Gail is a proud supporter of the Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage and Culture Alliance. She is a nominee for the 25th Annual Women in Business Awards sponsored by the Orange County Business Journal and designed to recognize five outstanding professional women who have made significant contributions to their organizations, their professions, and the Orange County community.

Landau will speak to the Laguna Beach Business Club about how she transitioned from attorney to cat café/adoption center proprietor, and her experience working with a multitude of generations in the workplace from baby boomers to Generation Z.

The Catmosphere Laguna Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (which operates alongside the Catmosphere Cat Café) that is dedicated to finding forever homes for homeless, relinquished, and special-needs cats and kittens.

The LBBC is a group of local business professionals and entrepreneurs. The club meets monthly to discuss current events, business opportunities, and share insights within the context of the community and members’ lives. The club’s goal is to build and maintain relationships with local professionals and businesses that its members are proud to recommend to clients and friends. 

For more information about the club or to register to attend the April 18 meeting, visit lagunabeachbusinessclub.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Seven7Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Join LOCA for Watercolors on the Beach on Sunday at Treasure Island Park

On Sunday, April 14, from 9 - 10:30 a.m., LOCA invites the public to take part in a Watercolors on the Beach class at Treasure Island Park. Tour the tide pools and learn about ocean conservation, then learn to paint tide pool creatures in a watercolor journal with September McGee. 

Explore and learn about local tide pools and conservation efforts. Participants will learn how to create their own color renderings of local sea life with a step-by-step demonstration of various watercolor techniques.

Join LOCA beach

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Tour tide pools and paint tide pool creatures in watercolors with LOCA on Sunday

All students receive an art package that includes a watercolor journal, and a set of watercolors in a canvas tote. This educational program melds the arts and science beautifully. It offers families a wonderful activity to participate in together. 

This workshop is offered to ages 6 through adult.

This is a grant-funded program and is part of a new collaboration between LOCA Arts Education and Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.

The cost is $35 for adults and $20 for children ages 5-18 when accompanied by a paying adult. 

Advanced registration is required for all students. 

For more information and to register, visit www.locaarts.com/event.


Two Laguna Beach bands headline at The Coach House Concert Hall this weekend

On Saturday, April 13, Mad Dogs & The Englishman, led by Jason Feddy, will headline at The Coach House Concert Hall in San Juan Capistrano. The band starts playing at 8 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. 

Mad Dogs & The Englishman is a brilliant, all-star Joe Cocker tribute show fronted by longtime Laguna Beach favorite and real Yorkshire growler Jason Feddy. Members of Cocker’s own band have said Feddy is astounding.

British singer Joe Cocker amazed and moved a generation of Rock n’ Roll fans with his incredible interpretations of some of music’s most popular songs, by artists such as The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Elton John, and most famously, The Beatles. His performance at Woodstock 50 years ago this summer is truly an historic moment in our culture.

The Coach House audience can expect to hear virtuoso performances of songs from across Joe’s career, including “Feeling Alright,” “The Letter,” “You Are So Beautiful,” and of course, “With A Little Help From My Friends.” 

Two Laguna mad band

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Mad Dogs & The Englishman: (L-R) Jimmy Zavala, Alan Deremo, Lori Mark, Ray Weston, Jason Feddy, Janis Liebhart, Pat Hawk, David Witham, and Richard Bredice

The band is a tour de force of extraordinary singers and musicians. They have played and sung with David Gilmore, George Benson, Eurythmics, Michael Bolton, Barbara Streisand, Joe Cocker himself, and so many of the greats there isn’t room to do them all justice here. 

Opening for Feddy and his band will be another local favorite, Robert Jon & The Wreck, frequent performers at Marine Room and The Cliff.

Common Sense, another Laguna Beach band, will perform at The Coach House the night before, on Friday, April 12. Common Sense is not just another reggae band from Orange County. With a SoCal background and a small beach town attitude, Common Sense took their reggae-rock influences and created their own style.

Common Sense has established itself as one of California’s premier reggae rock

bands. Nick Hernandez, Larry Young, Billy Sherman, and Phil Gough have been brothers in music for years. The band’s multiple personalities work together to a craft soulful, intelligent sound that tells stories of real life. With heartfelt lyrics and melodic harmonies, Common Sense delivers a true music experience.

Two Laguna Common Sense

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Courtesy of Coach House

Common Sense

The group started out in the college music scene of Santa Barbara and quickly

dominated the Southern California club scene. Noted for their high energy live

shows, they continue to grow a loyal fan base. The band has toured with many

legendary reggae artists such as Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, and Jimmy Cliff.

Their far-reaching style has earned them a spot on national tours from the Van’s

WARP Tour to Reggae Sun Splash and Reggae on the River.

The Coach House Concert Hall is located at 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano 

For tickets and info, visit www.thecoachhouse.com

For more info on Mad Dogs & The Englishmen, go to www.joecockertributeband.com

For information on Commonsense, go to www.commonsenseband.com.


LBPD challenges drivers to “silence” the distraction

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) will be joining law enforcement agencies statewide stopping drivers who violate California’s hands-free cell phone law. 

In April, LBPD will have additional officers on patrol looking specifically for drivers on their phones. Distracted driving is dangerous, especially when it involves a cell phone.

According to preliminary data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), 66 people were killed and more than 6,500 injured in 2017 from distracted driving-related crashes. 

Cell phones remain one of the top distractions for drivers. “That text or phone call will never be worth losing a life over. That is why curbing distracted driving is high on our priority list,” said Lieutenant Tim Kleiser. 

Under the most recent cell phone law, drivers are prohibited from using their phone except in a hands-free manner. Phones must be mounted on the dashboard, windshield, or center console, and can only be touched once with the swipe or tap of a finger to activate or deactivate a function. First-time offenders face a $162 fine. 

If you need to make a call or text someone, pull over and park at a safe location.

Funding for distracted driving enforcement operations are provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


One story: the miracle of kindness

By Ahmad “Mike” Masri

I lost my job in 2016. I was working in the information technology sector for a top tier international corporation. One month later, I was hit by a car, which left me physically disabled. Throughout my physical disability treatment, I faced many challenges such as securing a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, a job, food, and transportation. The pain from the accident was extreme; I would have to lay on the ground to rest as that was what was available for me to rest on.

Being homeless had me sleeping on the streets where I managed to survive death not once, but twice. In 2017, after one year of being homeless, I woke up in the parking lot of Pavilions in Laguna Beach where I slept on my motorcycle. A police car was parked next to me and a very kind police officer, whom I got to know as Corporal (Jason) Farris, rolled down his window and asked me if I was okay. Was I hungry, did I need a sandwich or anything? I also met Officer Patel who would greet me frequently; he was caring, and we would have good motivational conversations.

Even though I had been physically disabled and homeless for a year, I was still hopeful and confident that I could take care of myself and I did not want to be a weight on anyone’s shoulders. I found work as a security guard and worked the graveyard shift from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. After work, I would sleep on my motorcycle every day between 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. – that was as much time that my body could tolerate sleeping on the motorcycle.

I was pushing hard to get myself out of homelessness. It was difficult sleeping outdoors on that motorcycle. The temperature would drop to 34 degrees at night, heavy rains, vehicles honking, and public disturbances all made sleeping on my motorcycle more painful. Every time I woke up, my eyes bounced up and down, my heart beating heavily, slowly; morning frost crusted my jacket and motorcycle. It would take me several minutes to gain consciousness due to the cold and physical discomfort.

My path in mind was clear but my body could no longer keep up as I continued pushing the limits to get to work every day. Corporal Farris noticed my struggles and kindly informed me that he’d check on me daily and even recruited his fellow police officers to check on me. Together they blessed me with offers of assistance or food, kind words of support, and motivation in my daily challenges.

However, I soon couldn’t afford to maintain my motorcycle and things just seemed to keep getting worse. I couldn’t get to work, which was my only hope of getting out of homelessness. I was exhausted, physically disabled, financially distressed. I could no longer lead my path anymore and decided to let the path lead me and finally sought help. Corporal Farris helped get me shelter at the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) located in the heart of Laguna Beach Canyon. ASL is a shelter with a wonderful, caring, and kind team dedicated to helping the homeless.

For the past year, life had been harsh, there was no compassion. Because I was physically disabled, I had to go through a lot of depressing medical appointments, and no one asked me how my day was or how I was feeling. All I wanted was just to be loved, to know that someone cared for me. Corporal Farris helped open a new door of hope for me without which I wouldn’t have met all the wonderful new people at the ASL shelter. Another police officer, Officer Martinez, would always check in on me and tell me he was proud of me. These police officers were always kind.

One day, my homeless family at the ASL invited me to join them for breakfast at a local church called Net-Works in Laguna Beach. I started to join them and was humbled by the church members. I would stay after breakfast to listen to Pastor Don. Pastor Don filled in the gap of compassion in my life. I kept going back every week and received the love and care and attention there in the house of God’s followers, which I couldn’t find anywhere else.

In 2018, I tried working again but my physical disability prevented me from keeping my second new job. I had participated in medical trials for the past two years without any luck, so my doctor and I decided to move forward with surgery – I was told that I only had a 50 percent chance of success. The night before surgery, I cleaned the floor where I lay my mat and cleaned the bathroom. I also received heartwarming blessings from my homeless family and Net-Works Church members were praying for me. 

The next morning, I got up at 4 a.m. I had to take three buses from the ASL Shelter in Laguna Beach to the hospital in Fountain Valley. I was 30 minutes late for my surgery due to a fight that broke out on the last bus. I was rushed in to complete my last two required medical tests and the next thing I knew, the gas mask was on my face. Being homeless, I had a challenging recovery process the next two months after surgery.

One story with Farris

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Submitted photo

Corporal Jason Farris and Ahmad “Mike” Masri 

While I was laid up in the hospital and going through physical rehabilitation, I continued applying for jobs using my phone and responding to applications. I got my first interview when I was still unable to walk post-surgery, but I was hopeful as I continued applying for jobs. Soon I was back at the ASL shelter following two months of physical rehabilitation.

A new daily schedule began with a visit to my storage unit the day before an interview to get a change of clothes, go to the interviews by bus, then back to my storage unit to change back into regular clothes before returning to the shelter. I was submitting an average of 30 job applications a day. I finished my last interview and was informed that I was overqualified for the job. It was now after Christmas and I was financially drained so I made the decision not to pay my phone bill until I could afford it.

I was still attending Net-Works Church in Laguna Beach and met this wonderful woman, Nadine. We found out later that we had both attended the same elementary school! Nadine was instrumental in helping me. She connected me to another gentleman at church, Alfred, whose work experience closely matched mine. Together they helped me clean up my resume and were always on standby for anything I could ever need help with. I told them that I’m good as I did not want to be a financial drain on anyone. Alfred always kindly assured me that he was in this 100 percent until I got out of homelessness. 

One day I received a text message from my phone service provider that read: Thank you for your payment. Alfred didn’t listen to me and had paid my bill without my knowledge. Nadine would check in on me frequently, always asking if I needed food or clothing, etc. Both of them always reminded me to call them even just to talk and to stay in touch. It made me feel like a human being again, loved and cared for, and that gave me hopefulness.

Three days after my phone bill was paid, I received a surprising call back from a company that had rejected me a month ago. They asked if I was still available and I replied that I could come in for an interview as soon as they could get me in. Their response was that the hiring manager was happy with my initial interview and if I could start tomorrow? I said YES! As happy as I was, I was thinking that I have no professional clothing on me, my hair and beard is out of control, and my current outfit was just…no. On this short notice, all I could find at the ASL shelter for this professional job to start my first day back in the working world was a clean tight pair of donated women’s jeans, a casual buttoned-down shirt, and clean donated sneakers. Off I went to work the very next day, regardless of my outfit, with high confidence and determination to give it all my best. My boss didn’t comment on my outfit initially but later in the day, he kindly asked me if possible, to wear something more professional because I will be supporting the executive team and visiting business partners from outside the company as part of my job responsibilities. 

Every morning, it took me three and a half hours to get to work by bus and two and a half hours back to the shelter in the evening; en route, I had to get off the bus to run 20 minutes to get to my storage unit to change into my professional work clothes. Kick-starting a job while being homeless was no smooth sailing but rain or shine, whether I was sick with a high fever or enduring physical pain from surgery, I looked beyond all that with excitement to get to work on time every day and make a difference.

Two months later, March 2019, I had saved up enough to make payments on a very cheap but reliable car that Net-Works Church helped me secure. I also managed to save enough for a first down payment for a room rental that was close to my job, and finally, after almost three years, I succeeded in finally getting out of homelessness. I had tried so many times before but the time when one stops trying is the time when everything stops – when you continue to strive, all becomes temporary and you will find a better path with the grace of God, his followers, and all the good people in life who are always there to help you.

Corporal Farris still stops to talk with me when he sees me in downtown Laguna Beach. He always tells me he’s proud of me. Our conversations and his motivation helped me greatly especially during hard times. I would also run into Corporal Martinez who was always kind and supportive. The last time I saw him in his work vehicle by the beach, he told me that he’s genuinely proud of me and to keep pushing forward.

My situation needed a miracle, and that miracle was in the little things that people did; as simple as words of kindness, support, and compassion. I recently received a big promotion at work and when I went to thank the CEO of the company, he asked me, “What’s one of the most important words to remember at work?” And he said the answer is “gratitude.” I later thought to myself, what is the most important word to remember as a homeless person? The answer is “perseverance.” 

In homelessness, I discovered genuine love and compassion of God and his followers. 

If it beats, why stop? 

If it beats, why rot? 

It beats to remind you the gift you got.

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