Posts Tagged mission

It’s not the first time Greg Staffa is taking a road trip with a storyline of homelessness.

In 2008, the 35-year-old native of Farmington, Minn., outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul, where Back on My Feet is launching a chapter next year, drove 9,000 miles across 48 U.S. states to promote better understanding of homeless populations, of which he was a part in 2001. A year later, on Dec. 18, 2009 Staffa says he found himself again living out of his car, after losing a job with Northwest Airlines and then having his home foreclosed, as told to the Huffington Post last year.

Now he has undertaken another cross-country road trip, this time visiting the capitals of all 48 continental U.S. states to help lobby for more attention to issues of a new class of homelessness in the United States, one affecting previously stable portions of working-class Americans due to extended unemployment.

He is currently in the Midwest, working his way toward the East Coast in early next year. Follow his travels on Twitter here. Below, we spoke to Staffa, 35, about his experiences.

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Nov. 14-20 is National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week. As part of our effort to continue to further the dialogue around homelessness, this week we are hosting Personal Reflections on Homelessness here on the Back on My Feet blog.

For this series, we have asked one BOMF member in each city to reflect on their experience of homelessness.

Below, we speak to Jerel, a Chicago REST team member.

How would you describe the experience of being homeless in Chicago?

After the initial shock of being homeless finally sunk in, I knew I had to rely on other means to live. As a result of being homeless in a city, like Chicago, with endless opportunities, I quickly learned that only if you’re willing to help yourself then are people willing to help you get re-established.

What were people’s personalities like?

Although there are many conflicting personalities everywhere you go in life, I was actually surprised by the response of other homeless people such as myself willing to help me get settled in.

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Gael Henville leading the Boston chapter's inaugural run on May 24, 2010. Photo by John Deputy.

The team leader of the Boston chapter’s New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Gael Henville, bravely spoke to those in attendance at last month’s first Orientation 2.0

Henville, now 41, was homeless for seven months due to finally leaving an abusive relationship, having “sought self-validation” through an addiction to abuse from age 19 to 35.

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Nov. 14-20 is National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week. As part of our effort to continue to further the dialogue around homelessness, this week we are hosting Personal Reflections on Homelessness here on the Back on My Feet blog.

For this series, we have asked one BOMF member in each city to reflect on their experience of homelessness.

Ed Jenkins – Washington D.C. Clean and Sober Streets team

Ed Jenkins is a member of the DC team at Clean and Sober Streets.  Ed has been a member of BOMF for more than six months and is the closest embodiment of a teddy bear you will meet.

His story is less soft.

After relapsing for a 4th time, Ed checked himself into a recovery center in D.C. earlier this year and was placed at CSS.  Seizing the moment, he has flourished running several races since joining Back on My Feet (including a half marathon), becoming Team Captain and most recently graduating from Byte Back Computer Training.  He is currently actively job searching.

Ed has become a leader, source of welcome and inspiration. Though his build may suggest otherwise, he playfully goes by the nickname Kip after famous Olympic runner Kip Keino.

Below, read a short interview with Ed about homelessness and see an NBC interview with him.

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Eric Fair in the Back on My Feet Philadelphia offices. Photo by Lauren F. Friedman.

Freelance journalist Lauren F. Friedman put together an important profile of Philadelphia St. John’s team member Eric Fair for the website of popular innovation magazine GOOD.

In the early hours of a recent Saturday morning, Eric Fair begins his 15-mile training run. A still-dark path that winds along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia takes him further and further from his starting point on Race Street: Saint John’s Hospice, the homeless shelter where he lives.

Fair has been on and off of drugs and in and out of rehab, but now he runs with a goal in mind: the Philadelphia Marathon, his first.

“I think a lot about my past,” Fair says. “But that’s the most peaceful time that I have, when I’m running. I’m in another world.”

Fair began running last year with Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that uses regularly-scheduled team runs in five different cities to help homeless participants work toward self-sufficiency. Today, when Fair makes his final push down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, he will be one of more than 450 Back on My Feet members who have completed a race since the organization’s founding in Philadelphia in 2007. MORE

Read the rest of the piece here.

Every Friday, the Back on My Feet blog will feature a roundup of timely, prominent homelessness news, issues, concepts and trends from across the country and world. Subscribe to content regarding homelessness by way of either an RSS feed or e-mail blast.

  • This week, Nov. 14-20, is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week — We have been sharing Personal Reflections on Homelessness, which you can see here.

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GIVE A GLANCE

A Thanksgiving ministry meal for the homeless in Knoxville, which you can watch below.

Find past roundups of homelessness news here.

Our Founder and President Anne Mahlum wrote an op-ed for CNN.com:

Three and a half years ago, I ran a mile with nine men who were living at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission in Philadelphia,. Wanting to start a running club at this homeless shelter came from passing this facility on my morning run and seeing a group of men congregating outside on the corner.

I was quickly drawn to them as they reminded me a lot of my dad, who I love dearly but unfortunately has suffered from addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling for much of his life.

My dad and I have always had a very special, sarcastic rapport and one of the hardest things I have gone through was being a teenager and not being able to figure out a way to save my dad from his gambling addiction, which ended up tearing apart our family. MORE

Read the rest here.

A Boston member during the chapter's inaugural run March 24, 2010. Photo by John Deputy.

Nov. 14-20 is National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week. As part of our effort to continue to further the dialogue around homelessness, this week we are hosting Personal Reflections on Homelessness here on the Back on My Feet blog.

For this series, we have asked one BOMF member in each city to reflect on their experience of homelessness.

Jackie Kenyon – Boston St. Francis

Jacqueline Kenyon is a case manager for the women’s re-entry program at Boston Rescue Mission, a hairdresser for the past 23 years who now does so for the elderly, and Team Captain of the St. Francis House  Back on My Feet Team in Boston.

She was honored earlier this month as Boston’s Chapter Member of the Month for October 2010. Watch her talk about her background here and below read about her experiences with homelessness and Back on My Feet.

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As Vice President of Programming Wylie Belasik speaks at the inaugural Chicago chapter run, Philadelphia member Kenny Herder waits on.

Nov. 14-20 is National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week. As part of our effort to continue to further the dialogue around homelessness, this week we are hosting Personal Reflections on Homelessness here on the Back on My Feet blog.

For this series, we have asked one BOMF member in each city to reflect on their experience of homelessness.

Kenny Herder – Philadelphia Ridge Team

Kenny’s story is a remarkable one.

When Kenny joined BOMF in September of 2008, he was still struggling with his bi-polar disorder and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. However, instead of turning inward, Kenny grew outward.

Though his journey hasn’t been without bumps, he now lives independently with his brother and has been employed for more than a year without missing a day of work. Kenny remains active in the BOMF program and recently spoke at the launch of the Chicago chapter.

Below, we speak to Kenny about homelessness, Back on My Feet and feature a video interview with him about his journey.

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Every Friday, the Back on My Feet blog will feature a roundup of timely, prominent homelessness news, issues, concepts and trends from across the country and world. Subscribe to content regarding homelessness by way of either an RSS feed or e-mail blast.

Below, events for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and more.

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