No matter how the Seahawks are playing this week, Zackary Tutwiler will always show his support by wearing something with the logo. Whether it’s a hat or his sweatshirt, something is always on him, paired with a smile.
Since Tutwiler started at Real Change in 2012, he says “being my own boss is magnificent. It has allowed me to be self-motivated.” It has also allowed Tutwiler to be off the streets for three and a half years. “Housing has allowed me to have a place to store, wash and dry my clothes, store food and cleaning supplies. I also have keys to my door and can go in and out anytime I want,” Tutwiler said. Having the freedom to be able to do that is also why he has been a vendor for more than four years. He has sold on Third and James and is now on Second and Cherry.
After being incarcerated, Tutwiler decided it was time to change his life. He dabbled in door-to-door sales and even helped found the organization Peace for the Streets by Kids From the Streets (PSKS) in 1993. This organization is for homeless youths to empower themselves and to lead self-sufficient lives. You can check them out at their website, psks.org. Tutwiler believes this experience there has allowed him to see why Real Change is important.
This past month, Tutwiler re-joined the Real Change Advocacy Department. Advocacy works to ensure people experiencing homelessness have their voices heard in both our communities and in our government. He believes that advocacy is the best way to make a difference at Real Change.
Tutwiler also says that “being an advocate as a father is the best way to advocate.” He knows his children look up to him and leading by example is the first step. With a 13-year-old and a 14 year-old, Tutwiler wants to “teach them to be leaders and by advocating for myself as my own boss; they can see that.”
Tutwiler’s favorite aspect of Real Change is that it allows him to build up a customer base. “When I am not there, I like the fact that customers will come to me and say, ‘You’ve been missed. Where have you been?’” Tutwiler still finds it hard to be as loud as he should. He’s a quiet person by nature and some days he finds it unnatural to be so loud.
While life throws curveballs toward Tutwiler, he never stops being positive or stops smiling. Every day when he comes into the office, even if it’s a bad selling day — or the Seahawks have just lost — he has a smile on his face. When asked about this all he responded was, “I’m my own boss and I bring smiles.”
Zackary is one of 300 active vendors selling Real Change. Each week a different vendor is featured. View previous vendor profiles.
Check out the full Nov. 7 - 13 issue.
Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change.