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Life & Work with Cheri Hampton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheri Hampton. 

Hi Cheri, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I was 23 when I started to make meals out of my kitchen and preparing them for the homeless downtown the 2 days before Thanksgiving and days before Christmas. I then had a 4-year-old daughter named Alaysia. She would come out with me and my brothers and a few friends to set up a card table and begin to go gather homeless people that was around the area of 16th st in downtown San Diego. We would then begin to meet up with motorcycle clubs as they handed out blankets while we handed out plates and drinks. This was just something that made me feel good and always a reminder of where I could be and how blessed I am. It’s not about material items but the fact my child and my family had a roof over our heads, warm clothes, plenty food to eat and give. This also was an eye opener for my 4 yr. old daughter and my older siblings and friend’s daughter who never experienced anything like what we was doing. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Nothing great & worth fighting blood sweat & tears for is smooth and easy. As I’ve been giving back to my community since 2003, I moved to Tennessee & there weren’t really many homeless people there, which is great. But there are always single-family homes that could use some extra help, especially during the holidays. So now, at this point, I have a son along with having my daughter. I would now post on social media asking people to anonymously nominate a family they know IN NEED of groceries for a holiday dinner, and if it was Christmas, I would also add gifts for them and their children. When my children and I would call them and deliver them their gift we cannot explain in words to feel and see their tears of joy. To hear their story or situation is always a moment of tears and smiles and praise to God. It was also a time to learn that sometimes we suffer in silence but know that there are good people out there that care and want to help. I have related to many of these families in my own personal life experience. This simple act of kindness can completely change the dynamic in their home and can also bring peace even if it’s for one night. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I have founded a nonprofit called Issa Vibe. The name comes from doing many events and before it was officially a business people that would come out and support always spoke of the vibe and great energy that was present. I personally believe it’s because of the kind acts and genuine love and concern we gave to the people of our community. To give back and see their faces smile, eyes light up, and just to see HOPE in their eyes and to know they are not forgotten. I am known for bringing the community together to provide resources that’s needed to help them sustain a stable way of living; I have had several vision boards parties (not your average vision board party). We provide a safe space for each person to feel comfortable enough to be transparent if they feel the need to be so. With that, we do self-affirmations while looking in our own personal mirrors so we can dig deep and look into our own eyes to create a place to be Vulnerable so that way we can begin to heal once that wound is opened. We do other mental exercises to not only help build our self-esteem and self-care but to build relationships with others in our group. It becomes something like a “Me too” movement. Because of this platform that I’ve created I’ve been ask over and over how can they tell the world their stories. They want to be heard and knowing they are not alone and can help someone else that may be in any of their situations. I’m currently working on my podcast so we can continue to help heal, even if it’s one person at a time. This is for men, women & children of all races, ages, and religion. And for this, I am very proud of myself. It sounds cliché, but when I was just feeding the homeless, I knew it was more to learning to walk in my purpose. I just wasn’t sure what it was. I had a few deep conversations with God, and from there… things, people & opportunity came along. 

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I have previously been working on a few projects outside of providing resources to the community. I have been working on and receiving extensive training in stopping, if not reducing the gun violence and violence interruption. These 2 things are near and very personal to me as this is all going on in my very own community that not only did I grow up in but also the community I live in. My brother Ishi Hampton (Lil 8 Ball) and many other love ones I know that are near to my heart was murdered due to gun violence. Due to this unforeseen life-changing moment for me and his family, it has driven me to make a change and bring more unity in the community. The generation that I grew up in, children are moving recklessly, and I plan on bringing more opportunity for these minors/ young adults to make money so they don’t have to make life-changing decisions to make a few dollars. I plan to bring growth and take some out of this environment to see there is more to see and do outside of South East San Diego. Some have never been out of the city before, so can you imagine them going to another state or country to help shift their vision and mindset. This allows them some hope to a better lifestyle and with that provide them the proper tools and people in their lives to continue their hands-on guidance. Having more people involved with these teens and young adults that are not selected just based off education & going to school to teach them but actual people that are born and raised here and can RELATE to them in many ways. Make it more personal and way less judgemental. 

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