Bringing a family back together
James Worley is a homeless advocate in Tampa, Florida. While working with the local homeless population, Worley met Jennie Barela, a woman living in the streets. Over the course of months, Worley got to know Barela and, eventually, she opened up to him about her past. She told him that she originally came from Colorado. She also mentioned that she had a son, but she hadn’t seen him in a long time. Worley was able to get Barela’s son’s name from her. He made it his mission to find this son and reunite him with his mother.
Worley reached out through Facebook, searching for a Tristen Osaka living in Colorado. His search paid off and Worley was able to find not only where Osaka worked, but his work number as well. When Tristan received the call alerting him to his mother’s whereabouts and condition, he said, “I was shocked. I was in dismay. I was sitting at my office working at my desk going about my routine and it just caught me off guard. It was most definitely a blessing.” Osaka had been searching for his mother for the last three years. She is schizophrenic and had run off before, but never for this long.
Watch the long-awaited reunion here:
Osaka is thrilled to have his mother back in his life. “Just ecstatic. A lot of emotion, sad, happy,” Osaka said. “Want to get her back home, get her cleaned up, get her safe and get her off the streets.” He plans to use this experience to shine a light on all the different reasons people fall into homelessness, hoping to disperse the idea that homeless people somehow deserve their fate. “Do more than just give food out to people and clothing,” Worley said. “Talk to people on the street. Get to know who they are.”