3 Days & Shame

Have you ever felt embarrassed? You know what I mean… Maybe you tripped on a small object in front of a crowd, told a corny joke that no one laughed at, or did something that made you a public example. Whatever it was, you felt embarrassed, and nothing can really describe that butterfly feeling of embarrassment.

Nonetheless, I felt that this morning… Why? Because it is DAY 3 of #closetstrike, and I literally am approaching 72 hours in the same outfit. Not only do I NOT have any other option in my closet, but I reflected on how embarrassing and humiliating it is not to have a simple change of clothes. I can only imagine how children (students) feel who have to endure shame because of poverty, and a lack of resources.

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Well, after I went through the day, I received a phone call from a friend asking me about why I was doing what I was doing… He made mention that it didn’t seem to connect to anything for him, or he may have missed something. His statement was in no way belittling the campaign, but was uplifting (which is why I am writing this). He, like many others are wondering what is the end goal for this entire project. He wanted to know what resolve will come of me wearing an outfit for 90 DAYS straight… Well, here is the answer:

Last year, I had a chance to go into several schools (K-5), and work with many elementary students who attend Title 1 schools. Upon working with them, I observed that many of the students were impoverished, and had on uniforms and outfits that they wore every single day (literally), or they were underdressed (lacking socks, belts, and other basic items).

I started asking educators about this and found out that many students suffer because their family lack resources, or have little means to replenish worn clothing. This touched my heart…

Therefore, I took it upon myself to research disconnectedness of students when it comes to learning…. I found out that in many ways attire & low self-esteem affects academic performance among students (especially those who have tons of social pressures).

My heart immediately went out for those students, and I wanted to come up with a solution. Therefore, #lovebeyondwalls created a uniform called, “Uniform of Hope.” Below is a pic

LBW-Uniform-Mockup

I dreamed of creating closets for students who often times lacked closets in their own homes to provide of to students who struggled academically. But, instead of contributing to each individual students, I made it our goal to create closets for 5 schools (K-5). Why? Simple. To empower schools with the necessary resources for students. Also, this would give our organization a chance to do work in the school system, and teach students how to identify and solve needs in their own communities.

But, I was left with one delimma… I didn’t fully the challenges know students go through (or have to face) when they have to endure this type of shame.

Therefore, I took it upon myself to give up everything I own to walk in their shoes to raise uniforms for students that we will meet in August. I vowed to take three months to do this…

During the three months, I am planning to work with many individuals to help build these closets of hope for students in need (with uniforms)

Two things will come from this:

1) #lovebeyondwalls will impact students, families, educators, and

2) #lovebeyondwalls will launch a program to teach students how to raise awareness and solve problems that exist in the world.

Therefore, this is how #closetstrike was born. As days go by I will keep you guys updated on the progress, and also share with you the schools that we are partnering with this coming school year. Thanks for your support!

Terence

 

2 days down 88 to go…

88 more days to go! Only outfit I own at this point. This morning was extremely humbling… Why? Because when you don’t have options, you must be grateful for what little you have… Below is the one outfit that I have committed myself to for 90 DAYS during the awareness campaign #closetstrike

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Terence 

 

1 day down 89 to go…

Today, was my first full day of #closetstrike! It is going to be a long journey to go 90 full days with only one outfit. I walked into the closet today, and just looked… Why go 90 DAYS? Check it out [HERE].

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Terence

The Soul Project – 500K Shoes

Today, I met one of the most inspiring brothers I have met in a long time… His name is Martin Kumi, and he started an organization called, The Soul Project. He shared with me his story of being raised in Africa, and being very poor as a child. In fact, he shared that if his dad wouldn’t have brought him to America, he would have had to have his feet amputated because (like many) he was a child that didn’t have shoes in his youth.

In 2007, he launched an organization in an effort to provide shoes to thousands of people in third world countries that do not have any shoes and are vulnerable to foot diseases. So far, he has given away 500K pairs of shoes to men, women, and children in many countries.

I was introduced to this brother from Eldridge Washington (a brother man that leads the organization M.A.D.E.). I was grateful for the connection. Why? Because we will take the remaining of the shoes we collected for #givemilesaway, and donate them to “The Soul Project” to help resources thousands of people in Africa (and other countries) shoes this summer. Kumi has a vision to resource 1 million people with shoes, and #lovebeyondwalls will support his movement to make it happen. The thing I loved most about this brother was that not only was he humble, but he was committed to the work that God has called him to… He said, “I AM GIVING MY LIFE TO THIS…”

Below is Martin, please pray for him and follow his work! 10312067_689867754383726_6479497630770914202_nTerence

Housing & Employment

The single greatest gift we can give to another person is empowerment.

As we continue to move toward the warm weather season and begin enjoying all of the activities that are offered to us in our city, we need to remember that there are people and families still continuing to struggle to make it through each day.

Currently in Atlanta, there are an average of 4,000 beds available each night, for an average of 6,000 + people who need them. That means that there is a 2,000 + deficit in available beds.

Many people that are currently living within the homeless population underwent a major life crisis that led them there, and they are either unsure of how to get themselves out of the situation, or have lost the means to do so.

As our focus continues to be empowerment, we are beginning to explore more options that could be made available to the population, to help them find stability in employment and housing. This is very much so a “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” scenario. Getting a job will enable people to get housing. However, without housing, it’s difficult for people to present themselves well enough to get a job.

As we move forward, we continue to recognize the need for us to work together as a city wide collaboration effort to combat the homelessness epidemic here. Many people who read our blog and stay current with our organization, not only have many talents to contribute to the cause, ideas to share that could bring more insight, but also potentially the means to help empower a group of people who otherwise could be stuck in a cycle.

If you have any special skills, talents, or resources that you would like to contribute to our cause, please contact us. Thank you!

Jamie

Donations & Monthly Contributions

While we are continuing to get our office space/storage locations ready for operation, we still have a few ways that you can contribute items or monetary donations to our organization.

For item donations:

You can review the list of items that we need for our office space on our Wish List tab and can Contact Us for the best location to drop those items off.

For monetary contributions:

We are currently looking for monthly contributors. You can donate monthly for any amount you would like on our GoFundMe account. Simply click “donate.” Next to the box for the amount, check “Yes! Donate each month.”

If you would prefer, you can also donate on our Paypal account – you can choose to turn that into a monthly contribution as well.

As always, we would like to thank all of our volunteers, and all the people who have donated money, items or their time. We simply wouldn’t be able to accomplish all of our goals for the city of Atlanta without the support of the community. Thank you!

Jamie

Gave Miles Away!

In the entire month of March, we collected shoes from hundreds of people across the state of GA, and from some people who live out of State.

It was an amazing month! Why? Because we collected over 5K shoes, and were able to resource over a thousand individuals with their correct sizes. Why? Because generous, selfless, and kind strangers gave we were able to meet particle needs and minister to the homeless population in ATL.

Here is a picture of a gentlemen we met that had on five pair of socks just to fit shoes that were not his size. The beauty in this picture is found in the fact that he received dignity from a total stranger that sacrificed their shoes for him.

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So, “What’s next?” you might be asking… I’m glad you asked.

The entire month of April, #lovebeyondwalls is getting planted in our office/storage space. Why? Because we have a vision to connect & resource many other organizations with items, serve more people, and build relationally with many under-resourced people and lead them on a life-changing relationship with God.

It’s a pretty huge vision, but it will happen one step at a time. And, the first step is getting planted. Therefore, we are literally planting “LOVE” in our city.

I cannot believe tomorrow marks a historical month for our “young” organization. It is commonly known as “April Fool’s Day” to many, but to us it is a reminder that “God takes the foolish things to confound the wise…”

It is a reminder that God is using us to do God’s work to help restore lives and reach people! We ask you to do two things:

1) We ask that you view our simple “wish list,” and help us rally items on it so we can get planted in the city of ATL, and

2) We ask that you continue to pray for our efforts!

Terence

Plant Love Campaign

We are approaching a historic month for #lovebeyondwalls! Why? Because in the month of April we will occupy our first office/slash storage space. Below is a picture if you have seen it yet:

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Of course it is not a gigantic building, but it will be something we call a headquarters & home.

It will be a “launchpad” for the work we would like to continue doing in our city (ATL), country, and world.

It will be a place where we can get planted and grow as an organization. We ask that you do four specific things to help us get planted into our new office/storage space in the month of April (whole month).

1) Pray – I ask that you pray that God allows us to get planted, and immediately continue to reach people who do not have any hope.

2) Give – I ask that you look at our simple “wish list” and contribute in of the items on it that we need. This is ALL from scratch, so we will need your help. But, if we have to spend the first month on the floor with laptops working, we are cool with that too. LOL. Simply click [HERE] to visit our “wish list” page.

3) Volunteer  – We will post the days that we will start working on the building to clean it, and make minor repairs to it. We ask that you volunteer to help get our building together. We will need help getting organized, painting, etc. Why? As we get planted, we can help more people.

4) Share our story – If you know someone who could help us move forward, share our story. You never know who “you know” that we can help, or could help us.

Thank you for reading this blog. Pray for #lovebeyondwalls as we aim to “PLANT LOVE” in the city of Atlanta! Below is the graphic for the new campaign #plantlove

plantlove-office-instagram Terence

A Whole Car!

Earlier this month (March 1st), #lovebeyondwalls did a campaign to raise awareness about homeless survival by doing the very first homeless marathon the city of Atlanta. To conclude the walk, we raised shoes at the finish line through a campaign we called #givemilesaway.

Well, this month not only have we raised over 5K shoes, an anonymous giver literally donated a car to our organization to give actual miles away to a family that has had a hard time.

Below is the car! Therefore, in April, we are on the lookout to BLESS some family that has a story, and needs a hand up. Because we want to be good stewards of this vehicle, we are asking that stories be submitted via email. We will select a story that is able to maintain and care for the vehicle like the original donor would.

Please view the picture and the details below!2014-03-16 15.10.14-1car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help us #giveloveaway Terence