How do you write about poverty?

How do you write about addiction?

It’s not easy.

When I met Latashia, she wasn’t ready to interview. She just came home from Alabama, a place that held not-so-happy memories for her, after visiting a sick grandmother. For the past seven years, Columbia has been her safe haven. Revisiting the physical location of her past shook her present world, and she wasn’t ready to tell her story when I first came to speak to her.

That was fine. I’ll be patient.

This was beyond anything my little head could ever wrap around.

I remember interviewing Jane Williams, co-founder of Love INC, and I was honest.

“I’ve never written about this before… do you have any advice for me?”

“Just remember they’ve had very hard lives,” she said.

So with that in mind, when Latashia agreed to finally meet and speak to me, I hit record (with permission), put my pen down, and listened.

Her story was heart wrenchingly beautiful. Sad. Hopeful. All I could say was wow. If you don’t know me, my journalism hat usually keeps me in line, you know, be professional.

All  I could say was wow.

I had a lead to this after writing a story about children’s consignment stores back in February. A volunteer from Love INC reached out to me and told me to check out their newsletter. I did and realized I had found untouched territory. Something no one ever covers. Something that needed to be shared.

Through the writing process, I worked very closely with my editors to ensure I told the story the best way possible. I didn’t want to mess this up. I nitpicked every single detail to make sure it was right. That’s what it’s all about – telling the facts. Karen, my family life editor, said we should add a section on how to volunteer or join the program, which was a great idea. Hopefully, with my story, I can help change someone else life like Love INC did for Latashia.

Here’s the link to my story which featured in the Family Life section of the Tribune:

http://www.columbiatribune.com/arts_life/family_life/a-hand-up-back-from-the-brink-latashia-ringold-gets/article_2be35912-400d-55c5-b93c-b77da3249ac9.html

Thanks for reading!