The Real Change Portrait Project


Sabina Lopez

"Sabina: I Exist" Mixed Media by Freeda Babson
Sabina Lopez is wearing a flowing green, blue, and purple shirt, but what stands out is not her colorful top, but her big smile. Sabina sells in front of the PCC in Fremont and has been there for about a year and a half. “I love Fremont,” Sabina said. She said she’s gotten to know everyone really well and finds people to be friendly. “Everybody there is awesome.” Sabina started selling Real Change several years ago after finding out about it from a friend. It is her main source of income, so she uses her earnings to pay rent, buy food, and cover other expenses. Sabina was born in California, but when she was young her parents moved the family to Washington to start a restaurant. She’s been in the Seattle area for about 30 years and has been staying with her mom lately while she looks for a new place. Growing up in the Seattle area, “was kind of rough,” Sabina said, but she feels happy to be in the Fremont area and wants to stay nearby. Sabina likes to ride her bike to work and around town, so she wants to be able to continue doing that. Sabina hopes to one day have a home where she can live with her daughter and husband, and maybe get some chickens. She is working on getting her GED, though finding a new place to stay is her main priority right now. Sabina has found that the flexibility of selling Real Change fits with her personality. She said she has had trouble with other jobs and so selling papers has worked really well for her needs. She said of Real Change, “it helps a lot of people out here. It helps with customer service skills.” Sabina sells every day, and finds it helps her to relieve her stress, especially if she is feeling mad or sad. “When I’m sad I just go to work,” she said. When she’s not selling papers Sabina likes to hang out by the Ship Canal in Fremont and relax near the water. There are also many homeless folks in the area she is friends with, she said, and she enjoys spending time with all of them. One friend in particular, Dan, visits her daily at work and gives her a hug every time he stops by — yet another reason she likes being there. With huge grin on her face, Sabina said, “I just love going to work.”

Artist: Freeda Babson
Ms. Lapos is an award-winning artist. Her art work has been shown in art galleries and museums in Texas, Alaska, California and Washington. Her work is owned by collectors all over the US, Great Britain, British Columbia and Germany and is owned by noted celebrities in the US. Ms. Lapos' work includes paintings, murals, mosaics, vintage lamp embellishments, handmade purses, assemblage and sculptural pieces. You can view more of her work at

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