On December 13th, Terence Lester made his way to the streets with his friend Mark Moore. Terence wore a sandwich board that read, “HIRE MARK.”
Mark has been experiencing homelessness for the last four years. He encountered Terence and his nonprofit, Love Beyond Walls, a year ago while he was digging through their dumpster in search of food.
Over the last year, Love Beyond Walls has worked with Mark to help him find temporary shelter, access to food and water, clothes, and a way to begin the process to transition out of homelessness. The greatest hurdle he encountered was getting his ID card so he could apply for jobs and open a bank account.
Since launching the campaign on Wednesday, Mark has had four interviews and dozens of phone calls and emails.
On the first day of the campaign, Mark opened his bank account, printed his resume, and took to the streets. By the end of the week, he had talked to dozens of people on the streets, was interviewed by news teams, had a laptop donated, as well as two suits from D&K.
Terence and Love Beyond Walls accomplished most of this by leveraging the power of technology and social media for good and to bring people together.
At 3 pm on Monday, December 18th, Mark had a second interview with a sales company and was offered a job.
This year for Christmas, Mark is given opportunity. He will escape homelessness, with a community behind him to support his transition.
Love Beyond Walls plans to use this process as a model to help transition more people out of homelessness.
Today is day three of Love Beyond Wall’s #HIREMARK Campaign.
On day one, Mark and Terence printed his resume, Mark opened his first bank account in five years, and they hit the streets to pass out his resume.
On day two, Terence and Mark stood outside the CNN center to pass out his resume, and Mark had his first job interview.
Now, on day three, Mark and Terence were interviewed by a news station this morning and will be on the six-o’clock evening news.
What’s happened in the last three days is amazing. The campaign has organically reached over 50,000 people. But this campaign has been much more than the last few days they’ve shared on social media.
For Terence and Mark, the last three days have actually been the result of an entire year of work. The year has been filled with ups and downs. Slow progress, reconnecting with lost family members and getting the right identification to take the next step forward.
Joblessness is not a problem that keeps just Mark on the streets. It keeps thousands of people living under bridges and sleeping on sidewalks every day. So many factors keep the homeless unemployed: lack of transportation, lack of childcare, no identification, low-levels of education, criminal history, little previous work experience, etc.
Love Beyond Walls hopes that this story would inspire and show people what it looks like to walk alongside one another through life’s challenges.
While Mark was sharing his story with the people he met on the streets he was told over and over again how encouraging and inspiring his transformation was.
“I realize how very fortunate and lucky I am,” said one man.
Another passerby said, “I’m on my way to work and wanted to complain, but I realize what a blessing this all is.”
Most of us are just one paycheck or unexpected event away from losing it all. This is not just Mark’s story, this is the struggle of us all.
Love Beyond Walls exists to serve on the frontlines to show others how to walk alongside people to restore their lives. Get involved here.
It’s been five years since Mark has had a bank account.
One of the first steps to helping Mark transition out of homelessness was to help him get a job. Simple, right? But then, how has this process taken Mark over a year to work towards?
In order to get a job, Mark needed to have a bank account, a place where he could deposit his checks. In order to have a bank account, Mark needed an ID.
The process of getting Mark’s ID has been extremely challenging. He didn’t have access to important documents like his birth certificate, social security card, or proof of residence. (All things required when you get an ID.)
We worked with lawyers over the last year to help him prove his citizenship. At times it was a difficult, demoralizing journey. Can you imagine having to prove your existence and humanity?
The good news is, over the last few weeks his necessary documents began to come in. Earlier this week we got his social security card in the mail and yesterday we were able to get him an ID card.
This morning we were the first people in line at the printer to get hundreds of copies of his resume printed.
Then we drove to Citizens Trust Bank to open his first bank account. He proudly presented his ID, filled out the information, and shook hands with the banker.
This is a huge first step for him to rebuild his life. Now has basic access to the resources like a bank and he’s ready to get a job!
Mark has a degree in Economics and is highly experienced in sales.
Here’s a video from the end of Day One Hire Mark Campaign:
Starting on December 13th, Terence Lester, the founder of nonprofit, Love Beyond Walls, will stand downtown on the street corner with Mark Moore. Lester will put on a wooden sandwich board that reads, “HIRE MARK,” to raise awareness for those experiencing joblessness.
Mark is a middle-aged, educated, hard-working man who is currently experiencing homelessness. Love Beyond Walls has worked with Mark for almost a year, helping him secure documents like a birth certificate, social security card, and other identification he needs to get a job and housing.
Watch Mark’s full story here:
Mark realized, “You need help to transition out of homelessness. It takes more than yourself.”
Mark will be standing next to Terence in his suit with copies of his resume. This demonstration is to challenge the community to look at the opportunities placed in front of them and what opportunities they can share with others. Terence and Mark will be standing outside on the street corner until Mark leaves for his first interview.
Love Beyond Walls believes that the greatest way to lift someone out of the pits of poverty is to give them a community, longevity in relationships, and opportunity.
You can also listen to Mark on our new podcast talk about his struggle with homelessness, why he never begged for money, and what the year-long process of getting identification was like.
Three Ways You Can Help
- Check out his resume here and help him get a job by connecting him with someone you know or giving him an interview with your company. Fill out the contact form here and write *JOB FOR MARK* in subject line to contact Mark about a job.
- We have $3,000 left in our goal to fund Mark’s part-time employment at our organization while he transitions. Please consider donating towards that here.
- Share Mark’s story! The more people that hear Mark’s story, the closer we are to getting him a job! You can share the video, the podcast, or this blog post!
In fact, we are excited to announce that “Voiceless” will become a feature length documentary and will be used to educate people about the realities of the poor, cast vision of how we plan to address poverty through our “Love Center” concept, and inspire people all across our nation to get involved in their local communities through service and sacrifice.
Below is a quick picture of us working on the project in the studio. We can’t wait to start launching screenings all around our city.
We are starting to collect new or gently used purses for women that we will serve next month in partnership with Solomon’s Temple.
If you would like to be contribute, reach out to us at lovebeyondwalls.org/contact
Over the last couple of months, our organization has been intentional about giving people experiencing homelessness untraditional housing to get them off of the streets, and provide a place to stay that’s safe.
If we can be honest, it’s been messy, hard, confusing, and fun all at the same time. We’ve laughed with them, have had the privilege of celebrating successes, and have talked through struggles.
Long story short, we’ve just taken what’s in front of us and have used it to serve those who are forgotten.
Little did we know that a family was watching our work with using trailers to provide housing. Well, this same family reached out and donated our organization this RV trailer! Wow is all we can say!
We can’t wait to reveal what this will become for our next campaign.
HERE WE GROW AGAIN: Last night, we launched a Love Beyond Walls mini site in downtown Atlanta in partnership with Warehouse of Hope & Rush Memorial – Volunteer with us on Wednesday nights now every single week in the heart of the city!
Check out our recap video and share!