I originally posted my first blog post, called “What I’m All About” back in December of ’08, when I decided to keep selling items on Craigslist and Kijiji.com. It recently occurred to me, though, that it would be a good idea to re-post what I’d said back then from time to time, along with perhaps a few changes and updates. So, here goes…
I am a single mom with a bad habit of collecting stray kids. I probably shouldn’t really say it’s a “bad” habit, because I don’t really feel that way and it isn’t anything I want to change, but it is an expensive habit, and that is why you’ll find me selling things online pretty much all the time. It’s how I supplement my income and continue to take care of kids that I can’t really afford otherwise.
I have two biological children of my own, one foster son who still lives at home while he attends college, and others I’ve collected over time who count on me as their mom. Even those who don’t still live here with us rely on me much in the ways we all leaned on our parents when we were young adults. They do their laundry at my home, eat dinner here many nights, borrow the car, call me in a crisis, and sometimes need help paying the bills. In addition to all these, there is a fairly continuous stream of young people coming and going from my home regularly. Often they just need a place to stay for the night or on a short-term basis, some food and a shower, some advice, or a referral and a ride to the most appropriate organization that can help. Some stay and some go, some become part of the family and others never really attach like that. One thing is certain, though: you never know how many to expect around my dinner table on any given evening.
I've always felt that helping needy teens was my "calling". I know to most people they're a pain in the backside, but I feel differently, so I take them in. I've been doing this for a few years now. I've never had a parent deny permission for their teen to live with me (most have thrown them out anyway), but I've also never received a penny, either from a parent or foster care, for the support of these kids. If you want to know why that is, I'll be happy to answer questions, but I won’t go into detail here, just for the sake of space. So, anyway, I support them myself. I don't have a lot of money (I work as a janitor for a church), but the older kids normally do contribute what they can, and we always manage to scrape by.
The kids and I also work on “outreach” type projects to get info out to those on the streets. Through my years of working unofficially with young people I have gained a lot of information about available resources, and we try to get that word out. I offer a list of resources online via regular Craigslist posts, and we also hand out printed copies of this list at parks and other “spots”. We bring sack lunches to the homeless, take popsicles and cold treats out to those on the street in the heat, distribute water bottles, and use the opportunities to hand out our resource list to those who are under 21.
So, anyway, please take a look regularly at my online ads. Think of it as an ongoing yard sale (I have items as cheap as 25 cents!) with new things being added continuously. I have a huge variety of items for sale, so please take a look around at wherever you found me, and see if there's anything you can use. This is how I fund my support of these kids and pay for our “projects”, so I appreciate every sale. To find all of my items conveniently, all you have to do is search the word SALMAGUNDI on in the search box of whatever site you're at, and they should all come up for you.
I also want to say, as always, that if you know a teen in the Phoenix area who is alone and in need, feel free to contact me and I will see what I can do. I am not any kind of organized charity or anything, and I can't take everyone in, but I've learned a lot in the years I've been doing this and I know quite a few resources. I'm no miracle worker and sometimes I can't come up with much better answers than anyone else, but I do have the benefit of having been around this block a time or two. So, now and then I know of a solution I've seen work out before, or a place to call, or something.