My name is Casey Edwards. I was born and raised in a small town in South Carolina. I am a junior at Duke University. I am pursuing a major in Public Policy and a Certificate in Documentary Studies and frequently volunteer at a non-profit organization in Durham that provides food and shelter services to the homeless. When I read the course description that tied my love of photography with this policy issue, I enrolled immediately.

The first day I met Kimberly I discovered we were from neighboring towns in South Carolina. Four hours from home, we bonded over what we missed most about our southern hometowns – family, of course, and the local BBQ restaurant. My nerves were quickly put to ease, and I knew Kimberly and I would work well together.

During the formal interviews, my nerves resurfaced. Kimberly is a mature woman with two children, an apartment of her own, and a steady career. She didn’t appear to be like any of the homeless friends I had made at the shelters or soup kitchens. Coming from a stable background and supportive family, I didn’t want to offend Kimberly by inquiring about the time she spent living out of the backseat of the car. However, as her story unfolded, I realized that while she would have never chosen this path, Kimberly has made the most of what she’s gone through and she now looks at life through a different, more knowledgeable lens. Through my time with Kimberly’s family, I’ve been reminded not to take family for granted. Their lives took an unexpected turn but through hard work and determination, they are all happily under one roof again.

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