The story of Selena Friesen is one of tragedy and redemption.
The problem is that we normally only see one side of that coin.
We hear about drug dealers busted, we pass homeless people on the street, we observe sex workers standing on corners, and we read about crimes perpetrated to fulfill an addiction.
These observations get boiled into how we think about that group of people and the policies that should, or should not, be implemented to help them.
It’s a lot harder to know when you come across someone who was formerly homeless, addicted to drugs, or otherwise involved in what we consider street life.
We don’t know that the senior in the grocery store was homeless and living out of a van for a time (or, sometimes, if they still are homeless).
One probably won’t know that a co-worker was addicted to drugs, or that a hockey teammate spent time in jail.
And because we lack this knowledge, we likely take a dimmer view of helping those in need.
The growing numbers of visibly homeless men and women can suggest the situation is helpless. But that’s not the case.
Friesen’s story – and many others that go untold – show how, with help and support, those on the margins can become important contributors to society.
Restoring hope is important, both for people who are struggling, and for those who have the ability to assist.