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Posts Tagged ‘Speakers Bureau’

Speaking on Homelessness at Northern Virginia Mosque

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Awareness, Speakers' Bureau

Speaking on Homelessness at Northern Virginia Mosque – By Andrea Barron, NCH Volunteer

SpeakersSince 1999, the Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau has made over 3,000 presentations throughout the United States. It has held hundreds of events at synagogues, churches, public and private schools and universities, but never at a mosque. This was about to change. On September 13, Dana Woolfolk and Candi Darley became the first NCH speakers to visit a mosque.

Dana and Candi were invited to speak at Dar al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia by Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the mosque’s Outreach Director. September 13 was a special day in Virginia – it was designated as a “Day to Serve” by the mayor of Washington DC and the Governors of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. In Northern Virginia, volunteers from religious communities collected food donations for the food pantries at Dar al-Hijrah and the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA).

MosqueCandi shared her experiences with “Day to Serve” volunteers at the mosque, and with the Latina women waiting to register for the food pantry.  Originally from Panama, Candi had not spoken publicly in Spanish for years. But she made such an impression on the Latina women, mostly from El Salvador, that some of them discussed inviting her to speak about homelessness at their churches.

Dana addressed over 150 Muslims, immediately following prayer services. He spoke movingly about how he had once been addicted to drugs and alcohol and lived on the streets for three years. But he overcame his addiction and now works as a therapist and Clinical Recovery Coach and has become one of the leading advocates on homelessness in Virginia.

“I was honored to be the first representative from the National Coalition for the Homeless at a mosque,” said Dana. Everyone at Dar al-Hijrah treated me like a brother and made me feel welcome. Imam Johari can be a strong ally for us to end homelessness in Northern Virginia.”

“The tenets of Islam underscore the importance of caring for the miskeen (poor in Arabic),” said Imam Johari. “So it is a fulfillment of our faith to care for the homeless and the hungry. Often times people do not see the face of what hunger and homelessness look like—Dana showed us that people who are now or used be homeless are just like us.”

The Imam said he hopes to work with the National Coalition on a “Day of Action about Homelessness” in January 2015, when Muslims celebrate the birth of the prophet Mohammed. Thanks to Candi and Dana, NCH is now on its way to building a relationship with the Muslim community of Northern Virginia.

Why Membership Matters to Andrè

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Speakers' Bureau

Andrè is a member of NCH and participates in the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau. Over the past few years he has been able to share his story with many and today shares with us why he knows his Membership Matters:

Greetings, I’m Andrè. NCH continues to receive my support because of their approach tackling homelessness. They work to end homelessness not just through litigation and advocating about the issue but also in personal action. I’m referring to how they treat the people who are affected by homelessness on a daily basis. You see, when I was introduced to NCH by my good friend Steve Thomas, I was at what I can only explain as the lowest point in my life. Upon entering NCH’s offices in DC, I was greeted with friendly handshakes, genuine welcomes and sincere smiles. I had become conditioned to expect being ignored, ridiculed and dismissed by society.

Not only was I overwhelmed by kindness but curious and interested. I finally felt I had found a place where I had a voice. Since then I have had the honor of meeting with and speaking to some awesome people both as a guide for NCH’s Homeless Challenge and as a member of the Speaker’s Bureau. My perception of life, specifically my life in general, has been altered from hopeless to hopeful. I attribute my attitude of hopefulness to the donations of talents, time, service and tangible treasures ($) of those associated with NCH, such as you.

Searching my vocabulary the only words to express my gratitude for you is……

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

Gratefully yours,
Andrè

Why Membership Matters to Joe Finn

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Speakers' Bureau

As the president and executive director of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors at NCH, Joe Finn strongly believes in the power of an individual’s story. Mr. Finn’s Membership Matters because he supports NCH as an organization that gives homeless and formerly homeless citizens a platform to speak their minds and become advocates.

How did you first become involved with the National Coalition for the Homeless? In what ways do you continue to be involved with the Coalition? 

I first became involved in NCH through the outreach and advocacy of the Executive Director, Neil Donovan.  I wish to continue with my governance responsibility as a board member and I want to stay engaged in focusing NCH’s representing an authentic voice for homeless persons.

How do you interact with NCH? In what ways do you benefit from your membership at NCH?

I interact with NCH first and foremost as a member of the board. I hope I am assisting the CEO and staff toward implementing a broader vision that represents an authentic voice for persons who are or have experienced homelessness. My greatest benefit has been as a VISTA project host site.  The Speakers Bureau has limitless potential in developing the leadership capacity of homeless and formerly homeless persons in affecting real social change as it relates to homelessness.

To support the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau and other NCH VISTA projects nationwide, become a member of NCH today! (click here for more information)

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