“The whole goal of this place is not necessarily a place for people to go to spend their day, but a place where people living on the margins of society can be reintegrated to Macon as a community and transition into independence,” said Charles Levesque, executive director of Depaul USA.
Under the banner “Religious Organizations Pooling Resources to Make it Happen” the Macon Telegraph celebrates a project that aims at systemic change.
“Images of starving people in Africa compelled Teresa Kiehl to want to do foreign mission work. But instead, she opened her eyes to the plight of the homeless on the streets of Macon.
“How can I ignore our own city?” Kiehl asked herself. “There are so many people to help and hug and show some love.”
“She asked Sister Elizabeth Greim, director of Macon-based Family Advancement Ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, “How can I love them?”
“Sister Elizabeth believes that “Just because you have a roof over your head doesn’t make you any more of a citizen.”
“One of the biggest strengths of the Daybreak program is the desire of the volunteers to try to develop relationships with those coming in the door. “We need to be sensitive that for some (walking in) may be the only step they take,” Sister Elizabeth said. “But you want to encourage people to engage more.”
“There are about 300 to 500 homeless in Macon,” Charles Levesque said. “If this project works, it’s going to reduce the number of chronically homeless.”
“Some people with more serious mental problems may not embrace help, but the volunteers will work to reach them. “When he comes, he may not do anything but sit on our bench instead of somebody else’s bench,” Sister Elizabeth said. Levesque said there will be others who will transition back into productive lives.
Full story Macon Telegraph
Systemic change reflections
- This project started with one person noticing a problem right at home.
- This person asked someone else and a project was born.
- They have a realistic goal and are aware that not everyone will make the breakthrough.