As a trained volunteer for Sidewalk Talk, Aimee Rozen has one job: to listen. She cherishes the opportunity that the project provides to hear others’ stories and make connections with people passing by.
“All the people that will sit and talk and open up their hearts to a complete stranger is never lost on me. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful things.”
Meet Aimee: sidewalk listener
San Francisco, California
Aimee Rozen, speaking to people walking by: Hi there, we’re offering listening on the other corner there. We’re Sidewalk Talk. Feel free to show up at an event, sit and chat, volunteer to listen.
Aimee: Hi, how are you?
Sidewalk Talk is a listening project. Basically, we go out on the streets — volunteer listeners that have been trained. We set up chairs and invite people to sit down to talk, and to share stories about themselves and who they are, what’s on their mind — whether it be something happy, sad, overwhelming, ordinary, extraordinary. We’re just here to listen. Basically that’s it. There’s no catch. Because of what it means to be able to connect and listen to people at a time where things do feel so divided.
(Speaking to person on sidewalk) Okay, how’d it go?
Hello, gentlemen. We’re here offering listening until two o’clock.
Man: Thank you.
Aimee: We’re here til two if you want to come back and be heard.
Man speaking to volunteer listener: Oh, that’s a good question. So back to when I said I was an adult and I had to make…Like, what is life? What is right and wrong and what should I do? It just felt weird and I felt…
Aimee: And so it started in May of 2015. We are in 15 countries, 90+ locations, all over the world, international, multiple languages. It’s insane. And it just started with 20-something people sitting on the sidewalks of San Francisco, and it’s all volunteer-based. All the people that will sit and talk and open up their hearts to a complete stranger is never lost on me. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful things.