The following story was shared by Vivienne Gellert, Founder & President of bak•bak:
"While walking to the parking lot after class this morning I ran into two homeless men sitting on a bench at the ASU downtown campus. One of the gentlemen to whom I spoke with was Edward (the man pictured above). After shaking his hand and making friendly conversation I asked him what his plan was. His life plan. He told me “I’m a student here at the ASU downtown campus, studying Biology”. To be honest, I completely doubted him. After all it is not uncommon for homeless individuals to fabricate stories just in order to maintain some level of dignity. Having my suspicions, I began to probe for answers. To my surprise Edward was answering each question accurately and sophisticatedly. At that point I was very curious. Was this homeless man actually an ASU student studying Biology? “Edward did you by chance get a student I.D?”, I asked. To my disbelief, he began to pull out his student I.D and at that very moment I was ashamed of myself. I had given into the stigma that is commonly associated with the homeless; substance abusers, untrustworthy, and lack of motivation. Today Edward served as a very important reminder to myself and I hope to all of you as well He is 55+ and homeless, yet he refuses to surrender to his circumstance. He sleeps at Central Arizona Shelter Services each night and attends his classes each day. Today Edward is taking an exam on several bodily systems. Edward, we ALL wish you the absolute best of luck. #breakingthestigma"