Curbside has officially added some flower power.
Just a few weeks ago, another stem of the Homeless Alliance opened shop as a fully functioning florist, called Curbside Flowers.
“This is a dream come true, we are officially open," said Ranya Forgotson, the director of Curbside Chronicle.
The idea blossomed from the Curbside Chronicle’s Christmas wreaths and Valentine’s Day arrangements they would make every year.
“This entire project has been just the result of the community showing us that they believe in our vendors, that they believe in our mission, and that they want to see us be able to do that more," said Forgotson.
It also represents a natural growth of the Curbside mission to end homelessness.
Many of the employees are former Chronicle vendors who are now transitioning out of homelessness.
The shop currently employs 10 people, and every one of them went through a floral certification program at OSU-OKC. Employment can last up to a year, with the goal of preparing the employees to further enter the workforce.
Sonya Shackelford is one of the success stories.
She’s now enjoying paying her own bills and spoiling her grandchild.
“Got to buy (my) grandbabies Christmas presents. That makes me so happy," said Shackelford.
But beyond income, Sonya has found something intangible.
“Just not feeling useless, that you have some worth. Respect goes a long way,” she said.
"It’s incredibly important to us that we help put a face and a name to the issue of homelessness in our community. See someone beyond just the problem that they’ve experienced,” said Forgotson.
As Sonya and her co-workers know, it’s never too late to turn a new leaf.