Today we’d like to introduce you to Terence Lester.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Terence. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 2013, with the permission of my wife and children, I headed downtown in the heart of the city to live as a homeless person. I didn’t take a change of clothes, hygiene items, a tent, or any of the basic things needed to make it day to day. It was December and one of the coldest parts of the year.
Using social media, I documented my experiences and use this platform to educator people about the hard realities of what those who are experiencing homelessness have to endure. From this campaign, Love Beyond Walls was launched.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a mixture of experiences. It has been painful, sacrificial, exciting, fast, lonely, and rewarding. One of the most challenging things has been doing so many campaigns that puts me in the shoes of those that we serve. Once you learn firsthand how hard it is because you’ve gone through it, that within its self breaks your heart. It burdens you when you know how wealthy we are as a nation. If we wanted to, we could end some of the social ills that plague people every single day.
However, I’d say the greatest lesson I’ve learned on this journey is to “keep the main thing the main thing.” Focusing on our mission regardless of the circumstances fuels me.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Love Beyond Walls story. Tell us more about the business.
Our mission statement is simple:
“We exist to provide dignity to those experiencing homelessness by giving them a voice and visibility, providing shelter, grooming services, community connections, support services as an avenue to self-sufficiency.”
However, our vision includes a technology and storytelling position:
Every second that passes, something happens! A child is abused, a homeless person goes without a meal, a family gets evicted, a student drops out of high school, a community experiences a natural disaster, and the list goes on and on.
We exist to make known the stories that are experienced, but never heard about. By using technology, film, and service—we aim to raise awareness about stories that need relief, and mobilize an army of people who would dare to get involved in those stories and care!