We had the good fortune of connecting with Terence Lester and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terence, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I started Love Beyond Walls, I was starting it as a hopeful response to a society building higher and higher walls. Our organization focuses on telling the stories of and working with those wrestling with poverty and homelessness. As an organization, we believe that tangible love overcomes these barriers. Walls exist more than ever in our current society. We looked around and saw a nation building higher and higher barriers between one another. These walls separated people in different classes, sexes, races, and everything in between. We are an organization that is not afraid to address these barriers and are committed to breaking them down. We believe in action over words and making service a part of our daily lives.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We are a nonprofit organization! One of the most distinguishable characteristics about our organization is our focus on telling the stories of the unseen and building relationships with people as a way of walking with them out of poverty and homelessness. We are committed to people that the world passes by because we believe the people struggling with poverty and sleeping on the streets have lives and stories that are just as valuable as ours. Another major distinguisher to our organization is simplicity in our response to helping people. We don’t believe that fear has a place to stop us from loving someone. We strive to view everyone as an individual with a story and a hopeful, better future. Humans are humans and we desire to show the same unconditional love to each one of them. (Fully recognizing we are also humans and won’t always accomplish it perfectly.) Our mission at Love Beyond walls is: to provide dignity to the homeless and poor by providing a voice, visibility, shelter, community, and grooming and support services to achieve self-sufficiency. Our vision is to create a world where no one is invisible! We do that through our five part process: Discern Needs Imagine Solutions Collaborate to Provide Move to Action Impact the Future
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them a few places! First, we’d have breakfast at Highland Bakery and then spend a few hours walking Auburn Ave. and visiting historic sites, and end up at the Center For Civil & Human Rights to do a museum tour. And, it would not be complete without having dinner at Pasha! It would be a day of education and good eating at Atlanta most finest spaces to eat.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out Mr. Elroy Moore! He and his family played a huge role in me overcoming many of my challenges of experiencing temporary homelessness as a teenager. He was the person that encouraged me to start my organization, and lead my family well. Mr. Moore passed away the first year I was starting Love beyond Walls. He was a father, pastor, mentor, and advocate for people experiencing homelessness. A lot of my work today has been inspired by his compassion and influence in my life.
Dani Andujo, Love Beyond Walls Volunteer