We often get the opportunity to tell our guests’ stories to educate others. We believe that our guests are the experts on their own experiences and, therefore, are the best teachers about homelessness. It’s a gift to witness the ways our guests are able to teach others. Our Main Frame Coordinator, Ahren, recently witness this is a powerful way.
During the March and April Main Frame class sessions we were lucky enough to have some honors students from Georgia State University working with our job readiness students. Many of these students came from fairly privileged backgrounds and were learning about homelessness and poverty in an up close and personal way for the very first time. Encountering homelessness, poverty, and addiction in such an intimate way is a powerful experience that can make a lasting change in how we view and interact with the larger world.
One of the GSU students, “Lisa”, wrote me an email about how her experience in the Main Frame impacted her. She said that when she feels discouraged by the challenges in her own life, she thinks about the folks at the OAC and is reminded of how fortunate she is to have all that she does. She has even gone beyond this important recognition to reach out to friends and educate them on issues of homelessness in the Atlanta area.
This kind of encounter, the kind that compels action and advocacy, is exactly what we hope for when we bring people into the OAC. Lisa and her classmates’ recognition of the importance of not only serving and caring, but of educating people on the issues our guests are facing on a daily basis brings me hope for the future.
If you are interested in learning from our guests, there are many ways to get involved at the OAC. Visit our Get Involved page or email our Program Director, Chattrelle Gillyard, at [email protected] for more information.