The Innocence Collection was a project created with the intent of giving back to the community, and raising social awareness about our inability to empathize and properly relate to the less fortunate.
In partnership with the Light of Life Rescue Foundation in Pittsburgh, the Bald Boy community raised $835 to aid in properly addressing and recovering from addiction and homelessness.
Below are some key terms, testimonies, and thoughts on the project. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me.
Enjoy this beautiful piece of history.
Innocence- Natural purity.
We all start innocent, completely unaffected by our surroundings. Our innocence withers from birth. You imprint on the people in your life, you adapt to your surroundings, you develop opinions, interests, careers, role models, all of which masking the innocence you were born with. These effects are what make every individual unique, but also what creates distance.
Innocence is our innate relation to each others
He lived with his grandparents and grew up in a household of 12 in a 2 bedroom house.
The neighborhood kids weren't allowed to go to his house.
By the time he got to highschool he was “So introverted and beaten down that I didn’t have any social skills and didn't know how to communicate.”
He went to an all boys catholic highschool, and worked after school to pay tuition.
“I really isolated. I learned to isolate well in high school”
He started working at the perish at 12 years old for 1.50 per hour.
Junior year of high school the family moved out of their grandparents house.
“I only applied to one school and that was Dusquesne, and I got accepted early admission.
He paid for his own college
He had the grades to be in honor society, but didn't make it in because he didn’t do enough extracurricular activities.
He started drinking at 21
“The alcohol broke my spirit, but the other chemicals broke my bank account”
Dropped out of college
Became homeless with 1 dollar to his name, addicted to drugs and alcohol.
“All those issues were not what caused me to have issues, I made the choices that got me broken down to the point where I needed to come Light of Life”
Went back and got his Bachelor's degree later in life.
He is clean and working a fulltime job now.
“I’ve liked art my whole life, I still do.”
Her Dad and Grandma raised her after her mom died from an overdose when she was 4, but she doesn't remember her much.
Her dad was using around her and her Grandma had mental health issues.
“When I was 10 I knew how to pick the lock on the door to the bathroom, perform cpr, hide his drugs, and call 911 when he overdosed”
Her Dad got clean when she was 14
“Our whole neighborhood was kinda close, like I think as far as that goes I had a typical childhood. I mean we all played outside..”
She knew the owner of her local corner store ,Steve, who called her Sunshine and gave her the leftover pizza when the day was done.
“I always liked to escape, I guess I daydreamed a lot”
During her teens she started cutting class and smoking weed in the woods.
By 17 she’d done heroin and cocaine. It became a habit at 19.
She lost custody of her daughter while in rehab. What followed was a “suicide mission for years” where she overdosed every time she took drugs.
She’s now clean for 5 years. (check with LoL to see how long now)
“I do well with structure.”
“When I was a kid I asked my mom to stop smoking cigarettes, it never happened.”
Grew up in a house with 2 alcoholics, she was watched over by her grandmother
Her dad was abusive towards her mom, so her mom left to be with another man.
She had a boyfriend in grade school, and when he broke up with her she started self harming.
“It was just puppy love, but I thought it was real.”
Her mom got a job, and cut down her drinking to the weekends.
She met a guy who was in the army
They broke up
“If i'm not worth it to him, why is it worth living?”
When she turned 21 she started hitting the bars in college, and met a guy who became the father of her 2 children.
“I tried getting out of guys what I didn’t get out of my family”
She was in addiction for 5 years
She smoked crack for the first time with him when her daughter was 2.
Her mom didn’t believe in God, and she wondered if that was the key to a different life.
“The irony was when she was 9 her father got shot, and I was trying to put myself in her shoes at the time. Like, your 9 years old, your father died, and you're probably asking why God would take my dad away from me. So that’s why when I was growing up she drank, to try and cope with what she lost.”
He moved to Pennsylvania at 50 years old to fix up a house with his friend and stay there
His friend got a girlfriend and they never fixed up the house
He Started drinking at 16
He went out with a friend to the zoo on free bus day, but the bus didn’t come back to the zoo. They started walking and they veered off to a bar. His friend ordered a beer,but Greg said he would just have iced tea. He ended up getting drunk and thought if the place he was staying wouldn’t take him back anymore, he would go under a bridge and drink himself to death.
“ I went from not intending to drink to being suicidal in 3 hours, that just told me you know what, I have no control over alcohol.”
He fell into depression, and didn’t know whether alcoholism caused depression or the other way around.
“I amazed my peers, I looked at it like a badge of honor”
Started going to therapy, and that brought him out of it.
“I love to read. I always go to the library”
Started driving a bus for the City of Pittsburgh
“ I like to say that I don’t need people and am happy by myself, but if I look deep down I know I do need people.”