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      New magazine in Traverse City to benefit homeless community

      A new magazine is coming to Traverse City, but this one is very different because of who writes it.

      A new magazine is coming to Traverse City, but this one is very different because of who writes it.

      The magazine is called Speak Up, and it will be written and sold by the homeless community.

      Speak Up magazine started in Charlotte, North Carolina, but board member Bill Shaw decided launch an edition in Traverse City after seeing how many lives it changed.

      ??This is not just homeless people selling a magazine,?? said Shaw. ??The public has to understand that jobs are really important for hope and dignity and self-worth and we have to embrace this job.??

      He said it is a simple business model, and can be a starting point for getting off the street.

      ??We give the street papers as startup capital and they take those papers we??ve given them and sell them,?? said Shaw. ??They can take the money and walk away or reinvest, so it becomes a job.??

      But before selling the magazines, the homeless is writing them. Speak Up has held four writing workshops with those interested in sharing their stories.

      ??Speak Up magazine can be a venue for thoughts of change of homelessness in the community, where people are reading people??s stories and interacting with the vendors, where they can have that ah-ha moment where they can say this is the person experiencing homelessness,?? said Goodwill Street Outreach Coordinator Ryan Hannon. Those at the workshop said writing for the magazine may be even more beneficial than selling it.

      ??First of all it??s going to provide a voice,?? said Tyler Catton, who participated in the workshop. ??The number one danger when you're on the street is becoming ashamed, not sharing of yourself. So freedom of expression in itself is healing.?? Speak Up Traverse City is hosting a launch party for the magazine at the Grand Traverse Commons at 7 p.m. on July 23rd. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.