Occupation: Teacher at Edgewood Children’s Ranch, a school for at-risk youth who have been arrested and or kicked out of the public school system. I am also a founding member of Home Sweet Homeless, an organization that brings together social classes and forms relationships in the community with people who are often overlooked (www.hshomeless.com).
Favorite Movies: United States of Leland, Everything is Illuminated, Good Will hunting, Green Street Hooligans, Love Me if You Dare, 300, Lords of Dogtown.
Favorite Musicians/Bands: Animal Liberation Orchestra, RX Bandits, Been Harper, Derek Webb, Matt Mackey, Digable Planets, Iron and Wine, Lou Reed, Radiohead, Ray LaMontagn, Robbie Seay Band, Six Chasing Seven.
Church Background: Nondenominational
Favorite Pastimes: I love watching movies, surfing and spending time outdoors.
Are most of your friends Christians or non-Christians?
My support system of friends is mainly made up of Christians, but I work to reach past that group daily.
What social causes are most important to you?
Bridging the gap between social classes and helping everyone realize that it is up to us to alleviate the pain and suffering of those around us. If we don’t do it, who will?
How would you classify yourself politically?
What do you value most about your community?
I am new to Orlando and have been blessed to be a part of an amazing community that genuinely cares about one another.
Are you currently involved in any volunteer organizations?
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with Home Sweet Homeless for the past few months.
What is your church doing for the community?
Status gives its community the chance to use their gifting to incite change through their talent initiatives and has partnered with LoveWorks, part of Discovery’s local and global department.
What issues do you feel are the most prevalent in your community?
There is so much money in Orlando, yet more and more people become homeless everyday.
As a Christian, what do you feel is your responsibility to the local area?
Our responsibility is to allow God to use us to make the world a little more bearable.
What are the short-term and long-term goals for your community?
Short-term goal is to affect the people immediately around me, and in the long term this will become a movement.
Should Christians be more involved?
The world is waiting.
Should the Church do more for its community?
Too often the Church expects people to come to them, but I believe the Church needs to create more opportunities to reach beyond itself.
What are the difficulties of doing community service?
Some people truly need help and are thankful, but others want to use your generosity. The difficult thing is helping them anyway.
What has been your most rewarding experience?
That’s difficult to answer. A few of us from Home Sweet Homeless were making sandwiches for our last potluck when a homeless man, who had been at every potluck to date, said that we may not always have the best food, but he love coming because of the way he is treated. Doesn’t get any better than that.
Do you think people should focus more on local or global communities?
I think that people need to find their passions and act accordingly. If God calls you to go abroad, then you need to do just that. I just don’t want anyone to think that we have it all together here. Let us not forget that China sends as many missionaries to the United States as we do to them.
How would you advise others to get involved?
The Church needs to encourage people to “put legs” to their faith and act on the convictions that God has given them.
What does the Bible say about helping others?
1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body [to hardship] that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (TNIV). We are willing to give our spare change to a man as we walk by or sponsor a child in another country, and that’s important, but how many of us truly love by taking the time to share a meal or learn someone’s name?
Do you support any charities?
I work with Home Sweet Homeless, and we meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of many of the people we interact with.
What are your hopes for the future of community service?
My hope is that community service and outreach will no longer be the exception but the rule.