Jasmine Shepherd – The Doers Podcast

We are often asked, “How do you really get someone off of the streets?”

It is probably the most complex question we are asked because everyone experiencing homelessness doesn’t arrive at the experience the same way.

Some people experience job layoffs, some people lose family members, some women experience abuse, some teens find the experience because they timed out of foster care, some people use drugs and addiction to cope with life, and many other reasons.

We’ve come to find out that many people experiencing homelessness have several challenges, but the one of the greatest challenges is community.

Having community and people to catch you when you fall is important. If you could point to one person that has helped you through a difficulty—you will automatically know what I’m talking about.

This week we get to share the story of community with Jasmine Shepherd.

She’s a young lady that instead of talking decided to take a step to help a man (Mr. Philip) experiencing homelessness reunite with his family after 40 years.

When I asked her what pushed her to serve in this way, she responded with these words,

“My greatest desire is to travel to the ends of this earth serving the overlooked, the underprivileged, and spreading the Gospel. The Spirit led me to #lovebeyondwalls with Mr. Philip. After watching the documentary “Voiceless” and praying for God to use me to reach His people, I became intentional about making a difference in my community. Shortly after, our paths crossed and I saw a need. Once I got to know Mr. Philip, something about his story and genuine personality tugged at my heart and I just couldn’t give up on him.”

From her story, we’ve learned that sometimes getting to know people, and taking a step can transform someone’s life.

In the words of Jasmin, “to me, #lovebeyondwalls means to love one another just as Jesus loves us. It means we are responsible for meeting people right where they are, looking past their circumstances. We must build one another up, provide support, hope, and the greatest of all-LOVE.”

Check out her incredible podcast interview above.

Terence

Benjamin Graham – The Doers Podcast

After two years of college life, Ben decided to try his luck in Atlanta, GA.

Living a successful but fast life as an up-and-coming entrepreneur, Ben begin experimenting with crime and drugs which landed him on the streets experiencing homelessness for many years.

He says, “I was hopeless and weighed 140 pounds. Childhood trauma played a factor.”

After 17 years of addiction, battles with mental health challenges and homelessness, Ben credits God and a program for helping him to beat the addiction and depression.

Years later, Ben and his wife have now opened a convenient store on Auburn Avenue just two blocks from the same bridge under which he once slept, and one block from the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you’ve ever wondered if it was possible for someone battling mental health challenges to overcome homelessness, listen to his amazing story on our “Doers Podcast.”

Check out his story above on our podcast.

LBW Team

Mark Got a Job!

On December 13th, Terence Lester made his way to the streets with his friend Mark Moore. Terence wore a sandwich board that read, “HIRE MARK.”

Mark has been experiencing homelessness for the last four years. He encountered Terence and his nonprofit, Love Beyond Walls, a year ago while he was digging through their dumpster in search of food.

Over the last year, Love Beyond Walls has worked with Mark to help him find temporary shelter, access to food and water, clothes, and a way to begin the process to transition out of homelessness. The greatest hurdle he encountered was getting his ID card so he could apply for jobs and open a bank account.

Since launching the campaign on Wednesday, Mark has had four interviews and dozens of phone calls and emails. 

On the first day of the campaign, Mark opened his bank account, printed his resume, and took to the streets. By the end of the week, he had talked to dozens of people on the streets, was interviewed by news teams, had a laptop donated, as well as two suits from D&K.

Terence and Love Beyond Walls accomplished most of this by leveraging the power of technology and social media for good and to bring people together.

At 3 pm on Monday, December 18th, Mark had a second interview with a sales company and was offered a job.

This year for Christmas, Mark is given opportunity. He will escape homelessness, with a community behind him to support his transition.

Love Beyond Walls plans to use this process as a model to help transition more people out of homelessness.

Day Three of Hire Mark Campaign

Today is day three of Love Beyond Wall’s #HIREMARK Campaign.

On day one, Mark and Terence printed his resume, Mark opened his first bank account in five years, and they hit the streets to pass out his resume.

On day two, Terence and Mark stood outside the CNN center to pass out his resume, and Mark had his first job interview. 

Now, on day three, Mark and Terence were interviewed by a news station this morning and will be on the six-o’clock evening news.

What’s happened in the last three days is amazing. The campaign has organically reached over 50,000 people. But this campaign has been much more than the last few days they’ve shared on social media.

For Terence and Mark, the last three days have actually been the result of an entire year of work. The year has been filled with ups and downs. Slow progress, reconnecting with lost family members and getting the right identification to take the next step forward.

Joblessness is not a problem that keeps just Mark on the streets. It keeps thousands of people living under bridges and sleeping on sidewalks every day. So many factors keep the homeless unemployed: lack of transportation, lack of childcare, no identification, low-levels of education, criminal history, little previous work experience, etc.

Love Beyond Walls hopes that this story would inspire and show people what it looks like to walk alongside one another through life’s challenges.

While Mark was sharing his story with the people he met on the streets he was told over and over again how encouraging and inspiring his transformation was.

“I realize how very fortunate and lucky I am,” said one man.

Another passerby said, “I’m on my way to work and wanted to complain, but I realize what a blessing this all is.”

Most of us are just one paycheck or unexpected event away from losing it all. This is not just Mark’s story, this is the struggle of us all.

Love Beyond Walls exists to serve on the frontlines to show others how to walk alongside people to restore their lives.  Get involved here.

-Kellie

Mark Opened His Bank Account!

It’s been five years since Mark has had a bank account.

One of the first steps to helping Mark transition out of homelessness was to help him get a job. Simple, right? But then, how has this process taken Mark over a year to work towards?

In order to get a job, Mark needed to have a bank account, a place where he could deposit his checks. In order to have a bank account, Mark needed an ID.

The process of getting Mark’s ID has been extremely challenging. He didn’t have access to important documents like his birth certificate, social security card, or proof of residence. (All things required when you get an ID.)

We worked with lawyers over the last year to help him prove his citizenship. At times it was a difficult, demoralizing journey. Can you imagine having to prove your existence and humanity?

The good news is, over the last few weeks his necessary documents began to come in. Earlier this week we got his social security card in the mail and yesterday we were able to get him an ID card.

This morning we were the first people in line at the printer to get hundreds of copies of his resume printed.

Then we drove to Citizens Trust Bank to open his first bank account. He proudly presented his ID, filled out the information, and shook hands with the banker.

This is a huge first step for him to rebuild his life. Now has basic access to the resources like a bank and he’s ready to get a job!

Mark has a degree in Economics and is highly experienced in sales.

Check out his resume here and help Mark get a job!

#HIREMARK

Here’s a video from the end of Day One Hire Mark Campaign:

mark day one

Hire Mark Campaign Starts NOW!

Starting on December 13th, Terence Lester, the founder of nonprofit, Love Beyond Walls, will stand downtown on the street corner with Mark Moore. Lester will put on a wooden sandwich board that reads, “HIRE MARK,” to raise awareness for those experiencing joblessness.

Mark is a middle-aged, educated, hard-working man who is currently experiencing homelessness. Love Beyond Walls has worked with Mark for almost a year, helping him secure documents like a birth certificate, social security card, and other identification he needs to get a job and housing.

Watch Mark’s full story here:

Mark realized, “You need help to transition out of homelessness. It takes more than yourself.”

Mark will be standing next to Terence in his suit with copies of his resume. This demonstration is to challenge the community to look at the opportunities placed in front of them and what opportunities they can share with others.  Terence and Mark will be standing outside on the street corner until Mark leaves for his first interview.

Click here to check out Mark’s resume.

 

Love Beyond Walls believes that the greatest way to lift someone out of the pits of poverty is to give them a community, longevity in relationships, and opportunity.

You can also listen to Mark on our new podcast talk about his struggle with homelessness, why he never begged for money, and what the year-long process of getting identification was like.

Three Ways You Can Help

  1. Check out his resume here and help him get a job by connecting him with someone you know or giving him an interview with your company. Fill out the contact form here and write *JOB FOR MARK* in subject line to contact Mark about a job.
  2. We have $3,000 left in our goal to fund Mark’s part-time employment at our organization while he transitions. Please consider donating towards that here.
  3. Share Mark’s story! The more people that hear Mark’s story, the closer we are to getting him a job! You can share the video, the podcast, or this blog post!

LBW Team

WATCH VOICELESS DOCUMENTARY FREE!!!

WATCH VOICELESS DOCUMENTARY FREE!!!

About three weeks ago, our organization was offered a distribution deal for our documentary film “Voiceless.”

Although it was a huge opportunity, I (Terence) felt the pressure of having to entrust our message to many people who are not connected to the day-to-day work of fighting for those who are marginalized.

So, instead I (Terence) have chosen to make our documentary free to the public. Many would say this is foolish and insane to turn down a deal, but my heart has always been about educating, equiping, and moving people to care about those suffering with poverty in our country.

Therefore, if you have not seen our documentary and have always wanted to see it you can do so FREE of charge below.

Please read the disclaimer note to support our work!

Disclaimer Note:

After watching this film, you have three options to support Love Beyond Walls:

1) Go directly to our site and make a donation to our cause. Your support helps us to continue fighting poverty and homelessness (lovebeyondwalls.org/give).

2) Download a free 22 page workbook on our site at (lovebeyondwalls.org/voicelessfilm) to get next steps and continue the conversation on poverty.

3) Share this film as it is an important message in our country.

Trucks Made It To Texas + Packed Screening in Florida

We asked, and you showed up!

We had an overwhelming show of generosity in response to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Thanks to your donations these past few weeks, we’ve been able to resource two truckloads of basic necessities to Texas.

Special shout out to Mike Fye for driving down to deliver the much-needed supplies — thanks, Mike!

Screening at Genesis Church

This past weekend, we were invited to screen “Voiceless” in our third state — Florida! 

The screening was packed out with hundreds of people in attendance. We were blown away by the response! 

A big thanks to Genesis Church i

n Orlando for hosting us as we continue to bring attention to systemic poverty. 

If you’re interested in bringing this important film to your group, church, or organization visit voicelessfilm.com.

LBW Team