Our 100th ‘People We See’

by John Hawkins,
President and CEO, The Club

Not only did our January issue usher in a new era of Club communications with a streamlined Alive! newspaper and a new and exciting Alive! Website – you’re on that Website now – but it also marked our 100th “People We See” feature, where I interview someone living on the streets (usually downtown, but not always).

I had no idea what we had tapped into when I started interviewing some of the people I was seeing every day. Your feedback was immediate, positive and very helpful, and here we are, 100 interviews later.

I’ve interviewed families down on their luck … I interviewed a guy who was later found and helped by his UCLA graduating class (who had been looking for him for years; they saw him in Alive!, and reached out to me, and then him) … I’ve interviewed people whom the City has quietly gone in and rescued … I’ve interviewed people again years later, with them still in the same place and no closer to finding their way out. Even last year, as I was taking a break, we had Capt. II Matthew Gatewood, LAFD, Club Member, step in do his own interview (on his own) of someone living on the streets. I thought that was just incredible.

All 100 were unique. But they are all human, making mistakes, giving up, destroying themselves with substances, and so forth. But every one has a name, a history and a story to tell. They are more than statistics. I hope that comes across.

I want to use video more now to capture these interviews, so look on our YouTube channel to find them. Some have some pretty salty language, but we decided to leave it as-is, because it’s real.

Thank you for encouraging me to continue to do these sometimes very hard interviews. They have changed me, and I hope they have affected you, too.

— John