All in ATL 1X1

Ben Parks of Lazarus

I learned of Lazarus and knew that I wanted to hear more of their story and heart behind meeting the homeless community right where they are with humble hugs and hot chocolate. Ben and I met at Lazarus’ annual Christmas Dinner below the skyline of the city to discuss the mission of Lazarus, his heart toward the homeless and how being open to conversations can create change in all of us.

Adam & Becca Stanley of Blueprint 58

I know Becca from our time at the University of Georgia. She always had a giving heart, and her and Adam’s life has continued to exemplify that servant nature. When I saw that Becca and Adam had started Blueprint 58 and had even moved into the neighborhood to be closer to the kids and families that they serve, I knew I had to interview them for ATL 1X1. Their generosity, humility and willingness to love people amidst the chaos of everyday, messy life is something that resonated with me so deeply. To know these two is to love them and to be inspired moment by moment. Their life is a beacon of light and an example of how your willingness to go wherever God leads is always an adventure.

Julie Ann McKevitt of Paint Love

I first met Julie and heard of Paint Love at the 2015 Plywood Presents. She shared her vision and passion for bringing art opportunities to students by connecting artists with organizations who needed them. Her joy for what she does is palpable and energizing. I sat down with Julie to hear about her journey as an artist, how Paint Love came to life and how you can get involved in this incredible organization that spreads love and support through art. Her words of wisdom are helpful for anyone who is passionately pursuing a cause bigger than themselves. I hope her beautiful journey and heart inspires you to start where you are with what you have.

Terence & Cecilia Lester of Love Beyond Walls

I first heard of Love Beyond Walls at Plywood Presents. Terence & Cecilia were a part of the Ideas Competition, and their idea to bring Mobile Makeovers to homeless men and women across the city was inspiring. Their passion and excitement for serving others was obvious, and I was excited to interview them. Once hearing more about their story, I quickly realized that this was not a new venture for them. They had been living a lifestyle of service for many years. Now, it just has a name in Love Beyond Walls. Their story will challenge you to go and do. They encourage us that there’s no need to be fearful or to wait for the perfect time or plan, just go love and serve people wherever you are.

Lesley-Ann Drake of Path To Shine®

Lesley-Ann was nominated to be featured on ATL 1X1. She was spoken of so highly that I started to do more research on what type of program she had created. I was astounded to see that she had begun Path To Shine® for only $100. It’s not always the funding that makes a difference; there also has to be a passion to pour into other people’s lives. Lesley-Ann has a contagious passion to see children succeed and to have their families empowered to help continue that success. She also sees the value in volunteering and dedicates time to ensure that her volunteers are well-trained and cared for. As she said in the interview, this type of 2-way relationship in volunteering, “feeds itself.” Her kind-hearted nature and sweet spirit made the interview an absolute joy. I hope her story inspires you to take a chance and make a difference in a child’s life.

Kitti Murray of Refuge Coffee Co.

I heard about Kitti Murray and Refuge Coffee Co. through the wonderful folks at Plywood People. After hearing how she saw a beautifully diverse neighborhood in Clarkston and decided to create a community over coffee to foster conversation and relationships, I knew I had to meet her. I met Kitti early in the morning outside the big, red coffee truck. Her warm smile and hospitable nature welcomed me immediately. I quickly learned that Kitti and her team are a group of loving souls who want to build friendships and provide opportunities for others. Nothing about Kitti or her Refuge Coffee Co. family is self-serving or self-centered. She has shown me what community means in the truest sense. I hope her story inspires you to open your doors, your arms and your ears to your neighbors. A great cup of coffee is a wonderful invitation for building community.

Pastor Paul Palmer of Atlanta Dream Center

I was introduced to Pastor Paul by Jeff Shaw. From the moment that we sat down to do the interview, I could immediately see why everyone loved him so much and why he’s had such an indelible impact in the community. His compassion, authenticity and willingness to love those that have been overlooked by society make him one of the kindest people that I’ve ever met. He inspired me to seek out the positives in what can seem to be a negative situation. He reminded me that our God is so much bigger than any problem that we may face, and ultimately he showed me what it looks like to live a life that reflects Jesus’ love in a tangible way.