William Wallace                                                                                                                                                              Darin Barry

We are all individuals, and we each have our own unique story. However, there are moments in life when your experience mirrors another so much that you literally know what that person is going through and thinking. That is what happened to William Wallace and Darin Barry.

William was ready to end his life when he realized that people really care about him. Darin was about to end his life, and William sh...

You will find these guests at Hospitality House shared their stories from a most vulnerable and fragile place. These was recorded "on location," so please forgive the quality. We felt it was important to share these soundbites from their stories. Their deep emotions demonstrate the difficulties they must overcome. 

We so appreciate that Jose felt free to express his truth through despair. It was so real. You can feel Lisa's understandable anger at being homeless with a disabled husband and son, and Denise's hope for the future. We listened to many aspects of their stories, and chose these short clips to capture a small taste of the guests at Hospitality House. They are human stories of struggle.

The photo (compliments of Dee Anne Dinelli) is Jose, Ashley and son, Aiden. We are thrilled to report that Ashley has completed the culinary program at Hospitality House and gotten a job. Those that are ready, like Ashley, get what they need and can move their lives forward. She is...


Anita Bagwell has a heart of gold! She was been the Director of the now closed Western Sierra Youthbuild. We were so sad to hear the news of the closing of the school, as it served the very vulnerable population of 18 - 25 year olds. The program offered vocational training and career tech ed. 

Anita helped students who had not finished their high school education, and offered a way to move their lives forward positively. She told us that 50-70% of the student population were homeless, living out of their cars and all of them poor. Western Sierra Youthbuild offered lots of support to these students, providing clothes, showers, laundry, and breakfast/lunch. This was a safe place for students to learn about life.

It is particularly sad that this program closed last June, but we felt it necessary to highlight the amazing work that Anita was involved with in the community. She told us that although Western Sierra Youthbuild closed, the impact has been made and other schools are looking...

We are so happy to have met Jim Carney. We met him at a Sierra Roots volunteer meeting, where Jim shared his experience working with the homeless population in San Jose and Nevada County, California. He helped form the housing department for the Nevada County, so his professional experience brings a valuable perspective to this project. 

We talked with Jim about his successes in working with the homeless population, and he also shared personal experiences that inspire him to stay involved with the issue of helping vulnerable people. He is deeply involved, and helping co-create a strategy for the vision of a sustainable community village for homeless people. He has also recently joined the non-profit Board of Sierra Roots.

Jim is a solid citizen who is contributing and participating in community issues with his expertise and passion, and we can't thank him enough for all he has done and is doing!

Listen in:

Part 1

Part 2

If you know Janice O'Brien, Founder of Sierra Roots, you see that she has an incredible amount of energy to serve the community of chronically homeless people. Ask her how she does it, and she says "I am guided by spirit." Spirit expects a lot from her and she keeps showing up.

Her story is rich with experiences living as a nun, working with gangs on the streets of Wisconsin, parenting an alcoholic who became homeless, and becoming a persistent force in Nevada County for caring for the chronically homeless. Some of the things Sierra Roots has done for the community are to staff an overnight shelter for chronically homeless when the weather is extremely cold or hot, and train advocates to assist homeless people one on one. This is real help for real people. 

Since the inception of Sierra Roots, the main mission is to design and build a sustainable community of small homes. This huge vision is gaining momentum, as City Councils and County Supervisors struggle with finding solutio...

Tom Durkin has some stories to tell. He has been homeless on and off for 20 years, and has some amazing experiences to show for it.

Tom is a writer, who keeps on writing whether he has a home or not. At one point in his homeless lifestyle, he rotated to three different Starbucks (so he wouldn't wear out his welcome) and kept submitting work for publication. He has been published many times, and worked for various news outlets.

He is a sensitive man, who deals with bipolar disorder so his behavior can be unpredictable, as he himself claims. Can you imagine dealing with a diagnosis that shows you highs and lows, while not having a stable place to live? Whew...wears me out just thinking about it.

Tom tells a story of kindness from a police officer that had all of us in tears. Through it all, he feels the kindness of others, and my guess is that is what keeps him going.

Listen in to this brave soldier who keeps on keeping on...

Go Tom!!

Listen HERE!

Lisa  Cowden is building a house on property bordering Pioneer Park in Nevada City, CA. She has been confronted with homeless people who hang out in the Pioneer Park beginning to encroach on her property. You can hear from her story, she feels the love and compassion for humanity, but how do you handle people on your land. 

What a dilemma? How to stay compassionate even though fires have erupted on your land, and things have been stolen? This is what Lisa was up against. And then she shared...you want to know why homeless people have trash? She gets it, and is working with it in the best way she knows. 

Listen HERE to her story and how she is approaching the issue.

She has been called a Wonder Woman and a Fruitcake, but nothing like that phases Reinette. She persists on issues she believes in, and goes above and beyond for community.

We invited Reinette to join our project after hearing her at a Nevada City Council Meeting, where she said “We can not just put a roof over the heads of homeless people, we have to give them a purpose.” She did not disappoint with her amazing stories.

Her comment at the Council Meeting came after a visit to COTs homeless shelter in Petaluma, California, she was struck by the Executive Director of COTs comment that we never talk about the spiritual side of being homeless. That got her thinking about having a “purpose in life,” and that is a part of the healing for homeless people.

Several years earlier, she worked with Sierra Roots Founder, Janice O’Brien, and built 40 micro houses on wheels. It did not work out as well as hoped. The houses were called chicken coops to coffins, and were not embraced by many homeless peop...

Patti Galle shares her story of how she organized Nevada County Pets in Need. She brought together the community to support and contribute to pets of the homeless and families in need.

Over a 2-1/2 year period, Nevada County Pets in Need went from providing dog food, and then branched into cat food, collars, leashes, coats, treats, toys, flea medicine, vet care, vaccinations, and anything a person with a pet who has a home would provide their animal.

Patti is an angel on earth, as she steps up time and time again, to rally the community to provide needed help and support for animals and people with their animals. She made a very interesting comment on her audio segment, talking about the difference in the bond between homeless people and their pets. She says the relationship is so strong because they spend 24/7 with them. Pets are a life-giving source for homeless people.

Listen in HERE to this woman’s passion for her work!

Joanna Robinson, has recently been awarded the prestigious Lambert Award, with co-founder of Hospitality House, Cindy Maple. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the community of Nevada County.  “No two people have changed the landscape of the issue about homelessness in Nevada County more than Joanna Robinson and Cindy Maple,” said David Parker, who presented the award as part of the Nevada City’s Constitution Day Celebration on September 10, 2017.

Last September, we had the opportunity to sit down with Joanna in the studio, and she shared with us a deeply moving story of one of the guests at Hospitality House, who we will call Jane. Before she shared the story, she took a moment of gratitude for the amazing experience it is to listen to the stories of homeless and vulnerable people. Joanna is truly a human being positively human.

Jane was from a small town in Maryland, and now, at 69 years old, she is a frequent guest at Hospitality House. Her mother had severe mental ill...

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