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Posts Tagged ‘Speakers Bureau’

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)

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

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