The 2017 Atlanta Mission 5K Race Recap

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On the morning of February 18, 2017, Atlanta Mission residents, community members, and volunteers turned out in force for the annual 5K Race to End Homelessness. It was a timely event—just a week earlier, the overnight temperature had dipped below freezing, so sleeping outdoors was especially dangerous.

For those people with nowhere to sleep but the streets, the race offered hope: For each registration, Atlanta Mission provided someone a night of shelter, including a warm bed, a hot shower, a decent meal, and an opportunity for life-transforming services.

On race day, 250 volunteers gathered at Centennial Olympic Park downtown before daybreak to set up. As the runners began to arrive, over 3,800 of them, they prepped with stretching exercises and fun dance warmups. The upbeat crowd consisted of young and old alike, men and women from every walk of life, including shelter residents.

Atlanta Mission’s CEO, Jim Reese, said at the time, “It’s so exciting to see these people come downtown and say, ‘These people matter.’ We can’t thank them enough.”

When the sponsor’s mascot, the Fidelity Bank lion, fired off the starting shot, the excited runners took to the downtown Atlanta streets, where they would race north toward Georgia Tech and back, past the CNN Center, Atlanta Mission’s large men’s campus, and the World of Coca-Cola.

The fastest time was turned in at 16 minutes, 47 seconds, but for many, it wasn’t about speed. With Atlanta Mission clients running alongside their supporters, it was an empowering experience for them to connect with others in the community and to realize they are cared about.

The Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness is an annual event and is one of the last Official AJC Peachtree Road Race Qualifying Events. It’s one of the largest 5K races in Georgia, and it’s growing every year, with the 2018 race expected to be even larger.

Not only did participating in the race help race participants break out of the isolation that is so much a part of homelessness—for some it simply meant the opportunity to accomplish something. As one resident proudly said, “I’ve never finished anything in my life. The way that I’m going to feel today when I cross that finish line is the way I’m going to feel when I graduate.”

 

 

When the Vision Catches Fire

In my hometown, the students that attend local high schools have an annual tradition of throwing toilet paper in the trees of each other’s front yards for a full-week of all out war. The kids love it. The parents hate it.

For anybody who has been the victim of this front yard assault, you know how painstakingly annoying cleaning up this mess can be.

I had a friend who decided that there might be a quicker way to clean up all the toilet paper- by setting the end closest to the ground on fire and letting the flames do the cleaning up.

…He must’ve forgotten Smokey the Bear in this moment.

As the fire jumped from paper trail to paper trail, to leaves and branches, he learned a valuable lesson about how fires spread. And how fast the fire department can respond.

Vision works like fire. When a vision is communicated effectively, it catches fire and sets off a chain reaction. And it quickly becomes uncontainable and difficult to extinguish.

From my platform in Partnerships at Atlanta Mission, I get to see the vision catch fire everyday with how the community of metro Atlanta loves the men and women we serve.

One example this week was particularly inspiring. We have a church community who loves us very well. They come on a regular basis to play board games and cards with the men on Saturdays.

Community Cornhole

They decided they wanted to surprise us by providing a brand-new corn-hole set for the men to enjoy and for friendships to form
over.

When they communicated this vision- to see the men build relationships over games- to a woodworker, he was inspired to double their order free of charge.

When the woodworker explained this vision to the printer who makes labels for his corn-hole sets, the printer gave him the equipment to make them for free.

And so on and so forth…the vision catching fire.

This is how we end homelessness- by fostering a community under a common mission and method. The mission is transformation, the method is friendship.

Who can you share the vision with this week? Think about what could happen if you do!

The 2017 Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness

atlmission5k-racheliliadis-217 (1)Over 3,000 participants chose to run in the Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness last year, braving the mid-February cold. But for the many homeless individuals on the Atlanta streets, being out in the cold, day and night throughout the winter, is not a choice they freely make.

This year, join us at Centennial Olympic Park at 8:15 am on February 18 to help offer these men, women, and children a choice. Each race registration will fund one night of shelter and services for a person who would otherwise be out on the streets in the cold. Donors, community members, volunteers, and Atlanta Mission clients will come together to help end homelessness, a particularly dangerous experience in the bitter winter months.

Whether you volunteer, run in the race, or support it financially, you’ll feel the positivity, excitement and hope in the air when you arrive. Volunteers help coordinate the run, and the runners are given direction and do warm-up activities before embarking on the route, which winds through sectioned-off lanes on downtown Atlanta streets.

Said one resident who participated in the 2016 run, a man who had been battling drug addiction and a deep crisis of the spirit, “I never knew how much I was struggling inside. The Atlanta Mission gave me this foundation I have right now…They helped me find a new life. Today, I’m running for myself and the guys at the Atlanta Mission. Some of them can’t run, but I ran for them, because I know we can overcome it.”

Other Atlanta Mission clients who have participated in the race stress the importance of being able to actually finish something—which many have not been able to do in a long time. It also represents an opportunity to get together with new people and be part of something healthy, rather than feeling as though they are on the forgotten fringes of society.

You can help take the chill out of winter for the homeless with your participation. Register for the Atlanta Mission 5K Race here, either as a single runner, or as part of a team—start your own or join an existing one. By running, you’ll also be participating in an official AJC Peachtree Road Race Qualifying Event prior to the 2017 lottery.

Register Now



Learn what it means to be a Faithful Friend

Faithful Friends donations provide vital services

It’s surprising how powerful an ongoing friendship with someone you haven’t met can be. The Atlanta Mission’s Faithful Friends program allows monthly donors to help more than 1,000 people of all ages every day, providing shelter and safety, food, educational services, career development and counseling to get residents back on their feet.

If you donate now, the Atlanta Mission will help your gift go even further. When you become a monthly contributor, your first monthly gift will be tripled by an anonymous donor—up to $75,000! You will provide critically needed support to those experiencing homelessness throughout the year, and you’ll receive periodic updates on the lives transformed by your generosity.

For about the cost of a week of morning lattes, you can provide 10 full meals a month to hungry adults and kids or other essential services—and three times that for the first month with matching. Your consistent, generous gift will also provide a safe place to sleep, a shower, clean clothes—basics we so often take for granted—and these vital services will also be increased threefold the first month of your donation.

By automating and spreading your giving out over the course of the year, you provide everything a person needs to get back on their feet, find a fresh start and have hope for the future.

How can you triple your impact? Go to our Faithful Friends page and sign up to be a monthly donor. For your convenience, you may have your tax-deductible donation automatically processed from your selected bank account or card every month. Sign up to contribute $10 a month or more, and you’ll receive a welcome kit, including an Atlanta Mission tumbler.

Hear how your giving has changed the lives of our friends in their own words:

“From your generosity each month, you have walked alongside me and lifted me up.”

“You’ve given me the opportunity for my life to be transformed.”

“Because of your friendship, I have hope.”

But our Faithful Friends are doing much more than just contributing to the physical needs of Mission residents: they’re providing hope, a chance at personal and spiritual transformation, an education and a future.

How else can you provide so much for so little?

A famous man once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Make a richer life for yourself and give someone else a fresh start on theirs by becoming a Faithful Friend today.

 

ATLANTANS RUN IN THE COLD FOR THOSE WHO SLEEP IN THE COLD TO BENEFIT ATLANTA MISSION

Atlanta Mission 5K RunnersFor Immediate Distribution

Atlanta Mission and the community of Atlanta take over Downtown Atlanta for the 5K Race to End Homelessness happening February 18, 2017 at 8:15AM. Thousands of men, women and children will take to the streets of downtown Atlanta to run a race in the cold for those who sleep in the cold. The city of Atlanta is home to over 7,000 homeless men, women, and children who face the perilous conditions of winter without a roof over their heads. Each race registration will cover one night of shelter and services for someone who would otherwise spend the night in the cold, on the streets.


The race will take place at Centennial Olympic Park (the Olympic Rings) at 8:15AM. We are expecting over 3,000 runners this year. They will be running alongside the men, women, and children who live at Atlanta Mission. This race is also a Peachtree Road Race Qualifier.

Atlanta Mission serves over 1,000 of these men, women and children every single day. The downtown men’s shelter alone is a refuge for over 400 men on a daily basis. We hope you will join us this February as donors, volunteers, community members and Atlanta Mission clients run side by side in the race to end homelessness. For more information on the race go to www.atlantamission.org/race

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The city’s largest and longest-running provider of homeless services, Atlanta Mission transforms, through Christ, the lives of those facing homelessness. Established in 1938, Atlanta Mission provides overnight shelter, job attainment programming, long-term residential discipleship programming and transitional housing for more than 1,000 homeless men, women and children daily. For more information about Atlanta Mission, visit www.atlantamission.org

 

Reasons to Clean Before the Holiday Season Begins

The holiday season seems to begin earlier and earlier every year. There is so much to do to prepare for whichever holidays you and your family celebrate. However, there is one additional task that you should take the time to do. You should do a quick clean out of unused items. Why? Here are seven reasons (and I’m sure you can think of others, too!)

Why You Should Clean

You Will Be Bringing in New Items – Even if you plan to scale back this holiday season, you know that there will be gifts, decorations, and other items coming in your home. A clean out to prepare can lessen the impact.
You Don’t Wear All Those Clothes – As you transition to your winter wardrobe, take a good hard look at your closet. Take a look at those ugly sweaters you haven’t worn in years or pants that do not fit anymore.
Holiday Decorating Has Changed – Chances are, the way you decorate for the holidays is a bit different today than it was a few years ago. Don’t hold on to all those old decorations. Cleaning out unused décor can create storage space you didn’t know you had.
The Linen Closet is Overflowing – The linen closet is an area that becomes like a black hole—when items enter, they sometimes never leave. It is time to dig through those old sheets, towels, and blankets and rid yourself of clutter you do not use.
Your Kids Are Growing Up – Your children are getting older and have toys they don’t play with any longer. Encourage them to clean out old toys and donate them to someone who would love to have them.
You Need Storage Space – One of the reasons many people dislike their homes is the lack of storage space. Cleaning out unused items can generate space and help you appreciate the place you live.
You May Find a Gift – If all else fails, while you’re cleaning out things in preparation for the holiday you may find old unused gifts that you can “re-gift.” It’s okay, we won’t tell!
As you can see, there are many benefits to cleaning out your home in preparation for the holiday season. Once you’ve gathered up items you can’t use, consider donating them to your Atlanta Mission thrift store or look up charity thrift stores in your town that accept donations. Then, you gain the benefit of clearing out your home, AND you can feel good about having helped someone else too! If you would like to learn more about our thrift stores in Marietta, GA or elsewhere in the Atlanta area, reach out to us at Atlanta Mission today. We can even arrange to pick up large loads for you!

Transformation through Faithful Friendship

trans·for·ma·tion
ˌtran(t)sfərˈmāSH(ə)n/
noun

1. a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

The most incredible and compelling transformations I’ve ever seen have happened in the lives of other human beings. This kind of transformation often takes place in the context of friendship. Encouragement, trust, vulnerability, and loving moments where hard truths are spoken all combine to become a sort of cocoon, a safe place for life transformation to happen. 

Our friend Keith recently shared with us about the transformation that has taken place in his own life.

 

Keith, a guest of Atlanta Mission“I came to Atlanta Mission broken, wounded, and sad. In my time at Atlanta Mission, I found a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and it has made me glad.

I’m glad about the transformation of my mind. I’m glad about pursuing my job to the best of my ability. I’m glad about being in a clean and sober state of mind. I’m glad about food to eat and clothing on my back. I’m glad about my own place to live in.

Atlanta Mission stands for transforming lives. Surely it has transformed my life and ended my homelessness. I’m willing to use all that Atlanta Mission has taught me to give back to others so that their lives can be transformed.”

 

At Atlanta Mission’s campuses, we see life transformation every day. For someone experiencing homelessness like Keith, it may begin with a hot meal and a night of shelter. When combined with the consistent and intentional friendship of staff, volunteers, and other guests, change often begins.

One of the best ways to support life transformation at Atlanta Mission is to become a Faithful Friend. Faithful Friends are donors who provide critically needed support to Atlanta Mission on a monthly basis to help end homelessness, one friend at a time. This is a powerful way to walk alongside the men, women, and children at our campuses.

Your gift would provide consistent support for food, shelter, educational services, job attainment, counseling, and much more! Will you help create the environment that life transformation takes place in?


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Skip the Yard Sale! Donate Your Items to Atlanta Mission

You may not use that extra waffle iron anymore, but if you donate it to our Atlanta Mission Thrift Stores, we could turn that old appliance into funds to actually help people.

When you clean out your home this year, keep Atlanta Mission at the forefront of your mind and your donations. We need your households goods, outgrown toys and clothing that no longer fits to help fund the work we do to serve the area’s homeless.

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How Volunteering Can Help Save a Life

There are close to 7,000 homeless people in Atlanta and Atlanta Mission is dedicated to helping those men, women and children.

Of these 7,000 friends, neighbors and family members, less than half find somewhere to sleep at night. These are sad statistics to wake up to each day, but together, we can make a difference. If you’ve ever thought the time you spend volunteering with Atlanta Mission wasn’t appreciated, that it didn’t alter at least one person’s life in a positive way — you’re wrong. You make a difference. And the time you spend helping prepare and serve food, answer phones or cut and style hair makes a difference. When you volunteer at one of our homeless shelters in Atlanta, you impact lives in positive ways, and at Atlanta Mission, we want you to know just how important you are.

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Back to School

It’s that time of year again! Groggy teenagers are having the sheets pulled off of them as their alarms sound to no avail. The combination of coffee and carpool lines have been reintroduced into many of your lives. Meanwhile, at Atlanta Mission, our kids are literally jumping with excitement as they head back to school.

Atlanta Mission Kids Head Back to School

For some of them, this is the first time they’ve gone to school while living in a safe and secure environment. No more couch surfing. No more sleeping in the back of mom’s van. They’re eating three meals a day now. Our kids are being tutored and are receiving counseling. Their moms are in life skills classes, gaining more tools and wisdom to support and walk alongside their children. They’re receiving more than just an education. They’re receiving a transformed life.

You can be a part of this transformation. A gift of $10 a month helps to provide a quality education for our kids and a safe place to come home to. Become a Faithful Friend to children facing homelessness. Click here to find out more.

From Homeless to Entrepreneur: Glenn’s Story

The journey from growing up in Illinois, to homeless in Atlanta, to owning his own company has not come easy. But for Glenn Stevenson, an Atlanta Mission alumni, attaining a job and his own place to live was not a big enough dream.

Glenn arrived at the bus station in Atlanta in 2013 with two bags and no place to go. When his housing fell through, he wasn’t sure what to do or where to go, but someone saw him and suggested Atlanta Mission’s The Shepherd’s Inn.

He came to our emergency shelter, successfully completed our job attainment program, and received valuable job preparation help from the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency, where he developed a resume and interview skills. For the past two years, he has been working diligently at his full time job with a nationwide facilities management company at a large site here in Atlanta, while also preparing to launch his own cleaning company.

Glenn’s dream came true this spring when his company, Stevenson Janitorial Services, celebrated its grand opening. Glenn’s homelessness has ended, as he has stable housing in the heart of Atlanta, and his future is filled with more big dreams. While he is already an employer with a couple of employees, he dreams of continuing to grow his company and serving other Atlanta businesses through his services. A sincere, “thank you!” from Glenn to all who helped bridge the gap between his homelessness and a bright new future.

Glenn

Give Hope. Give Monthly.

At Atlanta Mission we are Ending Homelessness, one friend at a time. One of the most significant gifts we receive is the faithful support from our Monthly Donors. The gifts of our Faithful Friends provide consistent support for food, shelter, educational services, job attainment, counseling, and much more!

The Perks

Automatic Monthly Donations
Simplify your giving by linking your bank account or credit card.

End Homelessness
Join others in funding everything a person needs to find a fresh start.

See Your Impact
Get updates about the lives transformed through your generosity.

Atlanta Mission Swag
With a gift of $10 a month or more, you will receive our Faithful Friend Welcome Kit which includes an Atlanta Mission tervis tumbler.

Interested?

Click here to become a monthly donor or to find out more.

 

A Name and a Handshake


She was standing there, quietly sobbing when I walked past her. I attempted to ignore that uncomfortable, gnawing, helpless feeling I get  when I pass someone holding a “Hungry, please help” sign. I had excuses. After all, I was running late to a meeting and about to miss my train. Yet, God tapped me on the shoulder and I knew I had to go back. 

I walked up to the girl, a weary teenager.

“My name is Bonnie, what’s yours?”

“Shameka…I’d almost forgotten that I had a name.”

I let this sink in and as my heart grieved over this last statement, her face transformed and the tears stopped. Something as simple as asking her name and shaking her hand reminded her of her dignity and humanity. 

She was just like me. We had different backgrounds and different experiences, but we both had the same need, to be acknowledged and seen as a person, someone worthy of having a name. 

ShamekaThat simple question, “What’s your name?”, led to an unexpected friendship that summer, one that changed us both. 

It feels easier sometimes to look away or to pretend to be busy when we see someone out holding a sign on the street. But the simple act of asking someone’s name and shaking their hand can make a world of difference.

Called Out of Darkness to Serve Others with Love

VeronicaVeronica arrived at Atlanta Mission two years ago, needing hope and a fresh start for her family. She shared her story of transformation with us last year.  She now wanted to share an update about all that God is doing in her life. 

After graduating from Atlanta Mission’s My Sister’s House one year ago, staff members challenged Veronica to take part in a year-long ministry training program at My Sister’s House. Though initially resistant, Veronica prayed, and God led her to take part in the training. She is so thankful that He did.

“The ministry program has really transformed me to give me a heart to serve.” 

As part of the program, Veronica worked in the kitchen at The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children, where she learned humility and how to surrender control to God. This work also gave her a heart to serve those on the fringes of society and set the stage for what God was calling her to next.

“I can see a change in me as a professional and as a Christian.”

 

Veronica worked as a nurse for over 30 years prior to coming to Atlanta Mission. She did not expect to have an opportunity to return to her skilled profession. However, our God is a God of the unexpected and He placed her in a position as a Registered Nurse in the busy trauma center of a local Atlanta hospital. 

Her time in the ministry training program provided her with the tools to face life and death situations on a daily basis with compassion and peace. She learned to talk with God daily, moment to moment even. “I know God is the final author of every story and that He’s in control in the lives of my patients.” 

When asked about how she approaches nursing differently now, Veronica shares, “Previously, I felt like I was out there chasing money. I was very dissatisfied…Now, I’m at peace. I have a desire to really serve the people I work with. It is no longer a financial means for me. It is now a calling.”

During her free time, Veronica is working towards launching “Serve a Soul Save a Soul Ministry”. While at My Sister’s House, God gave Veronica a vision to join her culinary degree with her passion for people, to serve meals to those still living on the streets of Atlanta. “Not only do I want to nourish their bodies, but also, feed their souls.”

Looking to the future, Veronica wants to continue to serve those living in difficult circumstances. Whether bringing friendship and meals cooked with love to those in need or sitting at the bedside of a frightened patient, she believes that we need to meet people where they are and to fulfill God’s calling to love and serve.

And, maybe they will also find hope and a fresh start through Veronica’s transformed life and her love…

Wednesday Wins

Happy Wednesday! We have so many exciting things going on at Atlanta Mission this week. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Every Friday, including this coming up Friday, we have a group from Northwest Exterminating that comes and reads to our kids. This is a special time for our kids because this group has been coming consistently for a year and have been able to build relationships with our staff and our kids.
  • Johnson Ferry Baptist Church will be hosting another movie night with the men on Saturday.
  • Our Food Service Director, Pat Walker graduated with her associates degree in hospitality, and not only did she graduate, she graduated with honors.
  • Another special highlight for us is that two of our employees who are celebrating their one year work anniversary at Atlanta Mission were former clients. We love to see how God transforms their lives here and calls them to serve here.

Thats it for this week! We wish each of you could step through the doors of our shelters and experience the transforming power of Christ that happens every day in our friends who stay with us, our staff, and our partners.

Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day and at Atlanta Mission Mother’s Day is special for us. For some of the women living with us this may be the first time they have spent a Mother’s Day sober. For some it’s the first Mother’s Day they have spent it with their kids, and for others who aren’t mothers, it’s the first time they have reconnected with their mother.

We love celebrating the women who live in our shelters for their bravery to do the hard thing and change their lives for the better, today we say Happy Mother’s Day!

A couple of months ago we took these photos of one of our moms who just had this sweet little one…enjoy!

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