It all started with a cell phone. Already doing work with the homeless community in Atlanta, Terence Lester wanted to find a creative way to mobilize everyday people using technology and the power of storytelling to help underserved communities.
He brought attention to homelessness by living on the streets and shelters for one week and documented his experience on social media. It went viral.
Then, he wore one outfit for 90 days to bring attention to children who need adequate uniforms in Title I schools. Next, he walked from Douglasville to Downtown Atlanta to educate people on how shoes are comparable to tires for homeless people in a major city and with the power of social media, over 12,000 pairs of shoes were donated to the cause.
These demonstrations infused with a passion to make a difference, Lester and his wife, Cecilia, launched Love Beyond Walls, a nonprofit organization that tasked itself to raise awareness about the needs of society and focus on spreading love to the less fortunate in a variety of ways such as volunteering, donation collection and community collaboration.
It launched programs such as Love Feeds that provides food for 500 families a month; Closets of Hope that helps students in Title I schools get the uniforms they need; and a passenger bus outfitted as a mobile salon that travels to Atlanta’s homeless providing makeovers while also providing referrals for housing, job training and more.
Mobile makeovers has helped 527 people and referred over 1,000 to agencies and organizations.
“Our message is that we care enough about people to give them a second chance or lift them up in their time of need,” says Terence. “We all mess up and we all fall on hard times, but it doesn’t define us. Love Beyond Walls is about transforming lives, from the volunteers to those we help. ”
To expand its work, Love Beyond Walls is always seeking volunteers or partner organizations to further its impact in Atlanta. People can volunteer by organizing, sorting and serving for Love Feeds, which is held every Friday; participating in Serve Saturdays where the organization goes into the community; or joining Dignity Art, an art therapy program that teaches marketable skills for the workforce and presents the prospect for healing from social pressures.
People can also donate items on the Love Beyond Walls wishlist to help with its various programs.
In other news: The Gwinnett County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. donated over 100 gifts to Gwinnett County children living in foster care through the Gwinnett County Foster Children and the Department of Family and Children Services.
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Who’s doing good?Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at doing.goodAJC@gmail.com