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    Posted December 18, 2013 by
    Thousand Oaks, California

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    Capturing the Human Spirit: Samm Lambour

    I was sitting in the lobby of a quaint little coffee shop aka Starbucks waiting for Samm Lambour, my first subject of this spontaneous, yet extremely fulfilling project. Alongside my five-minute intervals of looking out the window as if she magically was going to appear, I was intently working on a research paper that I am currently now procrastinating on when suddenly, someone snuck up behind me and covered my eyes. And there she was. As I stood up she gave me a loving embrace as if I knew her my entire life. With such a friendly greeting and welcoming smile I almost thought I was on an unrealistically amazing first date until I quickly reminded myself that it was an interview.
    Samm sat down and of course, since I definitely did not prepare any questions and had a blank slate with one empty bullet point, I asked her an impromptu question, “Where are you from?”. Samm is from Inglewood, California and has pretty much spent her time there her entire life. “Awesome! The Wood.” Of course that would be my response coming from a dorky white boy who grew up within a hispanic community because I totally know exactly what it’s like. NOT.
    Regardless of Samm growing up in one of the most diverse cities (yes she is from LA, Inglewood/LA same thing, its all one giant facade of concrete anyway) she did not actually observe much diversity in regards to location, having gone to Las Vegas as the closest thing to going out of Southern California. “Oh hey I should take you to Big Sur!” Ya, I don’t know why I offered to make Big Sur the option, because a vast forest and rocky cliffs is full of culture and diverse people.
    Samm grew up in a seemingly small family, given being the only child of her parents’ marriage, but wait! There’s more. Samm has seven brothers, only from her father. Most older,a couple younger. Samm’s father wasn’t the most loyal of people, having been around the block sort of speaking and fathered many sons along the way, but out of that, came David, her other half sort of speak. Samm and David were and still are the trouble makers, who love to come home and tell the tale of obnoxiousness, a little trouble, but most importantly, pure joy. Out of the many brothers, David was the one Samm connected with the most growing up. But don’t get me wrong, growing up wasn’t the easiest thing for Samm. Inglewood may have been her home, but her house wasn’t always her home. As her father went in and out of his marriage and Samm’s mother not knowing what to do, Samm would be brought along with her mother at times away from her father. Samm observed the worst and felt the pain from her mother, literally. And as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    As Samm grew into a young woman during her high school years, specifically junior year, she met Christian. Oh great a boyfriend! Two years of flowers and love, well seemingly love until the third. Samm had the pleasure of constant ridicule and control. It was like being suffocated and trapped, no way out. There was air to breathe on the other side, but Christian was keeping her from breathing. “Don’t talk to other guys! You’re nothing! I’m all you have!” Onto year five. NO MORE.
    Samm grew and finally broke from Christian's hold. Samm was finally free at last, but not alone. Old man Steve. A man known as the coach and mentor, but what most don’t know, he was the other father. This man was Samm’s rock. Someone that could understand her pain and be with her every step of the way. It was like her rides home after a water polo game in Ventura, Steve steering the wheel, and Samm sitting shotgun, next to the man helping her along. He brought her into his family, the best was in the summer; playing on the beach with her second family and grabbing dinner when it was all said and done.
    Despite having a strong family to help her through, she did not forget about her blood. As her father began losing much of his life from HIV, Samm came to his side. Samm would take her father wherever he needed to go, help him throughout the day. She even left the school of her dreams to come to his aid. Even today, as I waited for her arrival, she was anxiously on her way after taking her father to speech therapy. Forgiveness runs in Samm’s blood. Always has and always will.
    Forgiveness isn’t the only thing that runs in Samm’s blood. When it’s all said and done, she goes to her favorite place, a lifeguard tower, on her own, waiting, watching for someone else to care for. That’s who Samm is, a giver of life, and a forgiving soul.
    As I sat for those three hours all that crossed my mind was how strong this girl is and throughout that time she had a big smile on her face, one that never faded, and for that matter, one that I do not see fading again.

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