Our story is about helping people write better stories for themselves.
After volunteering for 1Matters – Tent City and for Food For Thought for a couple years, Amanda Zuehlke (née Moore) just wanted to do more to attack the systemic issues causing homelessness; its causes, its obstacles, and its solutions. After researching solutions online in 2008, she came across the concept of street papers, a way to provide the financial autonomy that produces domestic autonomy. She thought, “Someone should do that in Toledo.” After chatting the idea up with a few other volunteers and friends, one of those friends sent her a New York Times article in April 2009 about the rise and success of street papers. It was decided to use her community of friends’ writing, graphic design, and marketing skills to start such a project. So many brilliant people came together to make this idea a reality.
After attending a conference staged by the North American Street Newspaper Association, Amanda and her small hand-picked team put the pieces together. Ken Leslie of 1Matters.org, an incubator for new programs, offered to provide the seed money for the program and become its fiscal agent, so they started Toledo Streets Newspaper (TSN). Writers, photographers, and other volunteers helped launch the inaugural issue in mid-October of 2009.
Job development grants beginning in 2013 from the Lucas County Commissioners and the Mayor of the City of Toledo allowed TSN to hire a staff person to assist the vendors in acquiring the skills to gain full time employment. A partnership with Lourdes University provided educational opportunities normally inaccessible to the vendors. These partnerships allowed 1Matters to successfully spin off TSN as its own registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. An established, growing, and evolving partnership with the Lucas County Commissioners and the City of Toledo itself are an integral part of the sustainability of our program.
Toledo Streets Newspaper is excited about its 2015 strategic goals, leadership, direction, and the budding relationships that will allow TSN to become a program which helps take its participants from poverty to self-sufficiency. With increasing community support and advertisers TSN is positioned to help hundreds more obtain domestic autonomy. If you would like to join this community support by purchasing advertising or donating, please do.
All help is appreciated. In Amanda’s words, “There is no such thing as small change.”