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Posts Tagged ‘Speakers Bureau’

Why Membership Matters to Steve Thomas:

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

Steve Thomas is a member of NCH’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau and an active advocate for the rights of homeless citizens. Read his story and hear why Membership Matters to him:

“I first became involved with NCH almost five years ago. After being addicted to drugs and alcohol for forty years and having had that lead to my living on the streets of DC, homeless, for almost two years, an outreach worker found me and got me into treatment. While undergoing treatment, I was introduced to a speaker from NCH that introduced me to the organization. Immediately I realized that NCH respected me as a human being. That my past addiction issues and homelessness didn’t matter in my assessment as a person. I learned that we all had a story, and that the telling of that story of my addiction leading to homelessness could be used to educate the public. To put a face to homelessness was an essential tool in the war to end homelessness. What I didn’t know or expect was the boost to my self-esteem (which had been very low my entire life) and the first time feeling of self-worth.

NCH ignited and fueled my passion for homeless advocacy. NCH taught me to be self respectful and to expect that of others. The last five years of being a member of NCH and being a speaker with the NCH “Faces of Homelessness” Speakers Bureau has made me a better person, a more concerned person, a more informed person and a more caring person. All this has allowed me to be a forceful advocate for the homeless, THE FORGOTTEN CITIZENS.”

Find your voice and support men and women like Steve by joining NCH and make your Membership Matter!

One of the many Faces of Homelessness

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Speakers' Bureau

Ever wondered what its like to experience one of NCH’s Faces Of Homelessness presentations?  Here a long-time supporter describes seeing NCH Board Member Donald Whitehead give a presentation recently in Florida:

They say that clothes make the man. In yesterday’s case the clothes worn by Donald Whitehead certainly made an impression with the students at Spanish River High in Boca Raton, Florida.

Not knowing who he was, all eyes were on the homeless man walking through their campus on the way to the lecture hall. He then took a seat in the front of the auditorium. The kids continued to stare and whisper and ask one another how this street person got on campus and why he was now sitting in their auditorium.

He was then introduced as the speaker. He made his way to the podium and the room went totally silent. In his soft voice Donald began to tell his story. He spoke about his successes and failures; his experiences on the street and in shelters.

Complaining of the heat in the room he began to take off his clothes. The audience was on the edge of their seats not knowing what this homeless man was capable of doing. Absolute amazement as the suit and tie appeared from under his “street wear”. To the students his new clothes represented the progress and successes he has made in his life.

Donald posing with students, and his Emmy

The students asked questions. They were inquisitive about his addiction and the abuse.

Donald said no one is above homelessness. The subject of homeless kids in schools was also discussed as well as the rise of homeless college and graduates living in shelters and on the streets.

Donald’s final point really hit home. The majority of attacks on the homeless are made by high school kids.

All the kids appreciated the visit, gave him a resounding applause and many students came to the stage to shake his hand.

By Jeff Firestone
Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County

How AmeriCorps is making an impact

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

This year’s National AmeriCorps Week, March 10 – 18, is an opportunity for AmeriCorps members, alums, grantees, program partners and friends to demonstrate impact on critical issues, bring more Americans into service, and thank the community partners who make AmeriCorps possible. AmeriCorps Week shines a light on the more than 80,000 members currently serving in communities across the country – individuals who are effectively serving and meeting critical needs in our country’s communities.

I am one of these proud 80,000 AmeriCorps members! I started with AmeriCorps*VISTA in the summer 0f 2009. So far the experience has taken me to rebuilding homes in the bayous of Louisiana, teaching lessons in the inner city classrooms of Washington, D.C., and now serving as a VISTA Project Leader for the vast reaching five state and counting VISTA program here at the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). The experience, connections, and knowledge I have gained from serving are already helping guide and shape my future.

Brian being sworn in to his 3rd year of VISTA

In this, my third year of AmeriCorps*VISTA I have learned what it means to really be an advocate for a community. I have grown a lot in the few short months I have worked with NCH. Being apart of a great VISTA network allows for me to be inspired by the work of other members daily whether it is a speakers bureau reaching a group of students for the first time, LGBTQ outreach to those who need services desperately, or to see veterans stand downs where literally hundreds of our nation’s patriots get the help and respect they deserve. The work that our members are doing is truly incredible and uplifting.

The National Coalition for the Homeless is the oldest and largest homeless advocacy organization in the country.  Through their stewardship they have administered the largest AmeriCorps*VISTA project for the homeless in the country. Two out of three staff members at the coalition are past VISTA members themselves and NCH has partnered with VISTA for the past fourteen years. NCH believes in the leadership potential of these individuals and has supported them both as an organization and a strategy to continue to create change. During this year’s AmeriCorps Week, you can support NCH’s AmeriCorps*VISTA project today through the Crisis Hidden in Plain View campaign. The campaign is working to encourage outreach and engagement to families and individuals who are homeless or at-risk of becoming un-housed. Here is how you can give.

The value of AmeriCorps service has been felt in communities both large and small. Here at NCH we look forward to celebrating AmeriCorps Week with our service partners and volunteers and lifting up currently serving members and the hundreds of thousands of Alums – they are at the forefront of possibility for community change.

In Service,
Brian Parks
AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader
Washington, DC

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