Cosima Reye started university when her daughter, now five, was just two months old. Now that she’s graduated, she works as a front line service provider with homeless youth.
Having faced homelessness herself in her teenage years, she believes in the importance of being honest in telling your story:
“The good and the bad makes the difference for people. I don’t shy away from how horrible things were, and the things I did when I was hurting. People aren’t perfect and the idea that you have to be this perfect example for everyone sucks. Be authentic. That’s what will help people.”
Her experiences taught her to see moments of kindness and humanity wherever she looked:
“I saw sparks of humanity everywhere I went. The homeless couple that were kind to each other. Never able to have privacy to discuss difficult matters yet still able to work things out. The mother who stopped with her children to give me gloves, that I still have 7 years later.”
She now lives with her wife, daughter, and their animals, two of whom are rescues and one, Echo, who is a service dog. She appreciates having “a safe space to hide from the world” and being able to provide for her family.
However, the lessons she learned while experiencing homelessness have made a deep impression on her values:
“Once you’ve already lost everything, you’re not scared of losing everything in order to get your dignity. I would not accept working for a bad person, a selfish person, because I’d rather be homeless than support that. In a weird way it can be freeing to not feel the need to conform.”
She loves that her work allows her to bring hope to people:
“It may be something small, but reckless acts of kindness are my speciality. You never know how something small can change someone’s life. I am forever thankful to every person who saw me as a person, who was facing struggles and not a lost cause.”