“I would tell anybody, to this day there are a lot of people doing philanthropic work. Is your heart in it? Can you do it when nobody is there? Can you do it when nobody shows up? Can you do it when you are only affecting one?” These are the things that drive Terence Lester to go on for his organization Love Beyond Walls day after day. His desire is to make sure that he is leaving a legacy that not only his children, but others will follow. He has witnessed people waste their lives being distracted by bad relationships, failed obstacles and other challenges. Terence is determined not to allow anything to distract him from striving on a daily basis to do all that he can to contribute to humanity.
In 2013 Terence Lester accepted the challenge to sleep on the streets and experience life like the homeless in his city during the Christmas holiday season. He took to social media sharing a gofundme campaign to raise money to launch his now flourishing organization, Love Beyond Walls. Love Beyond Walls is a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, GA and it was founded by Terence to be an aid to those who have ended up on the streets for reasons anywhere from job loss to runaways.
So exactly how does Love Beyond Walls operate? Well, some years ago, Terence met with mentors and he learned that every organization or company focuses on data. He wanted to do something where his measures of data were not focused on the number of volunteers or donations but his success was about reaching one person and making a difference in their life. Every life is important. While speaking Terence referenced the scripture Matthew 18:12 when Jesus mentions a shepherd who will leave 99 sheep to search for one. That is Terence’s focus today, reach one, and he believes that if his measure marks were not different from other organizations he would have quit a long time ago.
This was recently proven through a campaign that was led by Terence and Love Beyond Walls using the hashtag #HireMark. Love Beyond Walls has helped a ton of people over the years. Mark’s story was that he was adopted as a child, ended up in corporate America and became homeless. Terence promised Mark that if he went the distance that he would do the same in return to get him employed. Terence wanted to show Mark the power of collective support and how many people would be able to identify with Mark’s story. Mark was involved with volunteering with Love Beyond Walls and in turn they kept Terence’s promise. They helped Mark gather all of his identification documents, connect with family, and moved forward with the campaign. It was launched using the hashtag and Terence stood with Mark wearing a sign with the words “Hire Mark” painted on giant boards hanging over his shoulders. Mark was recently hired back into corporate America, moved into a housing space and open a bank account in less than a month from the campaign launching thanks to social media and word of mouth. This was a successful outreach for one but it affected thousands. That’s the magic of Love Beyond Walls.
Love Beyond Walls is gearing up for it’s next campaign known as MAP18 (March Against Poverty 2018). You may recall seeing Terence in the media during MAP16 when he walked from Atlanta to our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. This year Terence will begin walking on March 3rd from the Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum in Atlanta to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. Terence should arrive in Memphis by April 4th. The day he is set to arrive will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The focus this year is to bring attention to poverty and racial division in honor of Dr. King and two of the triple evils that Dr. King marched for during his life. This is a way to bring people together in a non-violent way. They have the endorsement of the NAACP as well as the SCLC. Terence believes this march will be one of the most historic campaigns that Love Beyond Walls has participated in. The campaign will be turned into a documentary film on racial reconciliation. “It will be creating the moral courage that we need,” said Terence. He believes this is something that america desperately needs. If you would like to learn more about MAP18 or Love Beyond Walls and how you can help visit their social media (@lovebeyondwalls) and website.