I have huge respect for Nadia Gomos, who many know by her twitter name @HomelessGirl1. A few years back Nadia and her mother ended up sleeping rough and sofa surfing. But even through that horrible situation something amazing surfaced in Nadia -- and that was her gift for writing about the issues of homelessness.
Nadia started a blog "Adventures of a Homeless Girl", which is now "Adventures of a ONCE Homeless Girl" because she is no longer homeless. Being a gifted writer, and having a a genuine passion for telling the homeless story as it should be told, Nadia's work caught the attention of The Huffington Post.
I first met Nadia over Twitter. She simply went by @HomelessGirl1, and it took a lot of courage for her to share her life publicly -- still does! I remember how honored I was to receive an email from her a few years back revealing her real name. She still didn't want her name to go public, and I respected her wishes. I was just blown away she trusted me to be the first to know her real name. See, in real life when working with homeless people establishing trust is essential. But it's easier to build trust when you actually are standing next to a person than over the internet and that person is 6,000 miles away in a different country. Over the last few years I have seen Nadia, all on her own, take huge personal growth steps in facing real fear to be public about herself, her past and her future. Heck, she's even video blogged a few times now and that's a huge fear for all of us to get past.
To be honest, even though we had talked about me visiting many times, I really didn't know how or when it would even happen. When British Airways and a group of generous supporters rallied around getting me over to the UK meeting Nadia was a must.
Nadia is an intelligent and attractive young woman with a real sense of fashion style. No one would even guess she once literally slept on the streets sleeping rough in London. Nadia, like most of us blogging about issues of homelessness, struggles on if she should continue. Homelessness is never going to be a sexy topic so blogging about homelessness will never make a blogger popular. Over the years I've encouraged Nadia to write about whatever she wants. I have often suggested she start a fashion blog and maybe make a few quid writing about style. But she always comes back to her homeless blog, and she continues to be a prolific writer on the subject. Here is the post I talked about in the video.
I am excited for Nadia. Although life still presents some crazy challenges for her and her family, she has a bright future no matter what direction she goes. I am just honored to call her friend and grateful that I was able to meet her in person.
Photo credit: Mark L. Edwards