Charm strikes the sight, but merit wins the soul. -Alexander Pope
Five years ago I packed up my family and moved them to Atlanta from the Bronx, NY. There I was, asking my wife, Sasha, to trust in my decisions and faith in God, with the understanding that we would have to quit our jobs and go live in a state where we had no family or friends. Our finances have been in trouble ever since. Things got even worse after I lost my job and decided that it was time to make CHEC a reality. All we had to rely on was my wife’s low income government job, and help from my mother-in-law, Linda.
By God’s grace and favor, we have managed to get CHEC this far andmaintain our household in addition to taking in another child. I know this seems like madness to everyone, but these women know me and believe CHEC is worth the sacrifices. Though they were very hesitant in the beginning, they never stopped supporting or believing in me. My words and deeds proved to be the biggest asset with these remarkable women, and I am glad that they have decided to take this faith-walk with me. I also knew that moving from the big city, NYC, to a smaller city like Atlanta would be different, but we were mentally and spiritually prepared todeal with whatever obstacles would come.We currently live on Atlanta’s Westside, which is known for its unemployment and high crime rates, in addition to the ills that come with areas having a high concentration of poverty. Conversely, the Westside is home to several Civil War battles, and birthplace to several prominent Atlanta families. Many well known personalities, which played major roles during the Civil Rights Movement, are from Atlanta’s Historic Westside. In almost three years, since our inception, we have successfully completed market tests of our main programs and services throughout the community. In doing so, we were able to compile valuable data and feedback on the programs, and gain support for the organization, as well as solidify our stake in the community.
The first thing we did after getting our business license in February 2008, was developed a relationship with SafeHouseOutreach, a well established organization here in Atlanta. Through this relationship were given the opportunity to host the health service portion for Convoy of Hope Atlanta, on August 9, 2008. The event was made accessible to our community by hosting it in the Blue Lot of the Georgia Dome, which is in Vine City, one of several historic neighborhoods that make up our community. We were able to organize various healthcare disciplines to come out and provide free services to over 6,000 underserved residents of the city.
The health services provided medical, dental, and vision screenings and access to follow up care. The event organizers were able to provide 80 tons of groceries, 2 tractor-trailers of household goods from Wal-Mart, employment information, haircuts and numerous community resource information were provided that day.
This event gained us some recognition from community leaders and residents, which enabled us to conduct our research and trial runs of our programs. We conducted trial runs on the following: health education and outreach classes; park adoption and community clean ups; after school tutoring and homework assistance; and we recently completed our second summer youth employment program. This has also afforded us the opportunity to build some really great relationships with various individuals and organizations around the city and state. Relationship building can be trying at times, because not everyone is open to change.
People have not all been receptive of me and my ideas. I’ve been told that my ideas were too grandiose; or not possible in this day and age; and I should worry about myself and stop being a dreamer. I believe it’s through God’s grace that I am able to accomplish these small steps that will eventually take me to my goal. The consistent demonstration of my ability to make CHEC more of a reality has granted me growing merit and credibility, because a person’s words and deeds will always be the ultimate proof of their character.
Please visit our website and learn more about our programs and services.
Until next time…God bless!