Meet the Speakers
Breaking down myths & stereotypes
one story at a time
Homeless Speakers Bureau:
[from left to right]
David Husid, Rebecca Hahn, Ann Gamble, Chantay White and Wesley Colter
Chantay White was born and raised in Northern California. Currently, she is a Mid-town resident, who manages a small dog walking company. She is a US Air Force Veteran, and Women’s Empowerment Ambassador. She is also working on her Master’s Degree in marketing. Sexual, physical, and emotional trauma from an early age led to her drug addiction out of high school. In search of stability, Chantay joined the Air Force. The drug abuse was slowed; she continued to suffer from alcoholism while in the military. During this time Chantay experienced additional abuse. Coupled with a traumatic up bring, she could no longer bear the burden of the trauma.
“It was a combination of therapy, dealing with the sexual assaults, and my drug abuse together that saved my life. “
Today Chantay is a fully functioning, independent woman. She credits her success to her higher power, to the help she received from the Veterans Affair, military sexual trauma (MST) counseling, and grief support. She finds joy in giving back to the community that helped her reclaim her life. Chantay also accredits her success to a nonprofit agency in Sacramento, California, called Women’s Empowerment (WE).
When asked if she has children she jokes, “That’s something I forgot to do.”
Now not only a productive member of society but she celebrates being drug-free for over 7 years.
“I am a better friend, sister, and daughter. I am of service to my fellow addicts and community and for that I am grateful.”
Ann is a bus driver for the Sacramento school system. Ann is a mother of 3 and a grandmother to 4. Her story starts earlier in her life, she had her first child at 17. With support from the father, the couple went on to welcome a few more children and to get married. Tiffany was her first daughter. At the age of 5, she passes away due to cancer. Under the weight of this loss, Ann became co-dependent on food and drugs. After things spiraled out of control and several run-ins with the law, she was allowed community service instead of a prison sentence. With previous knowledge as a bus driver, she was able to train others to get the qualification they needed to do the same. Though she was giving back to the community and she still struggles with co-dependency on marijuana. The following year she became homeless.
The community, in which she previously volunteered, would help her. The program helped her establish the necessary confidence and resources to gain her full sobriety, housing, and community that Ann really thrives in.
“When my daughter died a big part of me died with her. I was mad at God. I just did not care about much. I also had my sons to raise. I was alive but empty. I had not time to grieve so I tucked away the pain."
Amy was born and raised in Sacramento. She is a mother of two, a full-time student, and employed at UCD CAARE Center as a youth and family advocate. At 17, Amy became a mother.
Growing up in a dysfunctional home environment, she graduated high school and immediately left in pursuit of employment and a safe living environment. With no support and through a series of unfortunate events, Amy found herself without an adequate means of housing while expecting her first child. To get through the final weeks of her pregnancy, she moved back home for a brief couple of weeks. Immediately after the birth of her daughter, Amy found help through St. John’s Community Care, an adult day program.
As Amy tells her story she accredits her motivation to her daughter. After graduating St. Johns program she was able to find employment at the Boys and Girls Club. With more confidence in herself, a little government assistance and guidance from a friend she was able to secure an apartment. She was also able to enroll in school, where she's discovered a passion for learning. She is currently pursuing a BA in Sociology.
Wes is an AmeriCorps alumni, a former soccer coach for the homeless boy's program, a certified alcohol and drug counselor, a certified Mobil Electronics professional, a Mather Community Campus graduate and has joined Volunteers of America as an employee in 2016. “I am married to a wonderful woman, who is a nurse.” He is also raising a step son and is working on rebuilding the relationships with his biological children.
Wes became homeless when he was just a child. Born to an alcoholic father and absent mother, Wes talks about interfering with his Father’s drinking habits. He was often neglected and sometimes abused. At the age of 12 he started running away from home and at age 15 he stopped returning. No one went looking for him. By 15 he had all the characteristics and behaviors of a full blown addict. He was in and out of juvenile hall as a teen, in jail at 18 and was sent to prison at age 19. At age 28, he released for the final time.
Now not only a mentor, a husband, and a father, Wes is an active member of the community, a professional, a man of strong faith, and lives a heavily goal-oriented life.
“I feel like GOD has a plan for me and this will be my life’s work. I am currently on the Homeless Speaker’s Bureau, and working in the social service sector.