We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Bray Yolanda McGee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh Bray, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Josh: I have seen that most Professionals in the for-profit space don’t realize that many in the non-profit sector take their process of work seriously and strive to be top tier, efficient and productive with ‘best practices’ within this space.
Yolanda: Outsiders would be unaware that homeless people are some of the most innovative, creative, and resilient people. They spend every day looking for a safe warm place and a hot meal. They are caring as they are a community and look out for the next person. They share what they have with others and are willing to always offer a smile and a warm word of comfort to those come in contact with.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Josh: It is a rarity to grow up seeing both extremes of society. Visiting my dad, SHO’s Founder, as a child put me in Homeless Hut Communities during one part of the day and then in the Hawks locker room where he would Chaplain the pre-game devotional in the evening. Understanding both worlds inculcated into me at a young age has proven to be a strength for empathy to all people. Having the platform of my dad’s non-profit legacy here in Atlanta provides obvious advantages, with these advantages come many who believe that anything I have, or will, accomplish has been delivered on a silver platter. Overcoming this misperception has allowed me to understand more deeply how rooted some people are in their preconceived ideas of others lives.
Yolanda: I have been in social services / human service since 1995. I have worked with every possible population and what set me apart from others is my commitment to serve and make a difference in the lives of the clients I have had to honor to serve. I got to where I am professionally today by being faithful to the industry and never giving up even when all the odds appeared to be against me. It was not easy, there were times I wanted to give up however the people I served kept me grounded and able to keep going. When client achieves their goals I feel that it was all worth it. I have overcome my challenges by staying faithful and remembering that I have a calling to help others. When I look at the clients served and see them smile I know that I am doing what’s right. The lesson I have learned is to never underestimate anyone and to keep your
word, no matter what. To be honest and communicate every step of the way. I want the world to know that I am a servant and that I am here to serve those in need of help without judgment.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Josh: I’m old and am perfectly content with the DadLife that I live. The week would be full of teenage sporting events, boating on Atlanta’s best lake (Lake Spivey), eating at fine dining establishments like EATS and Silver Skillet. A true and deep friend would also receive the full walking tour of downtown Atlanta, from SafeHouse on Ellis St to MLK Memorial, up to 5Points and Centennial Park, back through Peachtree St as we return to our car at SafeHouse.
Yolanda: My friends and I are really different in the things we enjoy. I would start by taking them to the King Center to get the tourist thing out the way. I would then take them to Gateway Center, The Salvation Army, Auburn Ave and the last stop would be SafeHouse Outreach. I would show them the wonderful world of Atlanta’s homeless in an effort to push them to get involved and help make a difference.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many amazing organizations and people in Atlanta working to support those we serve, but we want to shout out our Impact Service Volunteers and Legacy Donors. These are the people who support SafeHouse every single month, either by making a regular donation, or coming down to help serve dinner, and they make what we do possible.
Robert Jones / SafeHouse Outreach