June 21, 2009
My focus then became how to motivate people to do this, I remember asking myself, “How can I get people to find value in these people that society had deemed worthless?” I mean while my newfound goal was noble and good; I too was just like almost everyone else in our society who just walked past these people and didn’t think a thing of it. I knew that I needed to capture their emotions the way Randae captured mine. Remembering that I wasn’t homeless, and Randae was, I decided I needed someone who was homeless to help me get this point across. With that in mind, and knowing that my time in California was coming to a close and I would soon be returning to Georgia, I came up with the idea to turn this into a film.
I then came back to Georgia and pitched my idea to several people, among those who chose to sign on were Jesse Lavender (Standoff Studios), Mark Mitchell (North Point Ministries) and Jackson Walker (Great Debaters, Medea Goes To Jail, Final Destination: Death Trip 3D). With Jesse and Mark behind the camera and at the editing desk, Jackson offering his leadership as Executive Producer, my vision cast and an incredible number of people supporting us on through online social networks such as Facebook, we created My Concrete Mattress (MCM), a 70 minute documentary that captures the lives of four homeless men and women, while intertwining how my interaction and personal experience relates to the story. Once we completed the production and editing of MCM in the spring of 2008, we set July 11, 2008 as the premiere date. Wanting to create an environment conducive to drawing people into the film, we developed a complete event with live poetry from Jon Goode (Def Jam Poetry) and Spinxx Jones, live painting by Sarah Bagwell and music (originals and covers) from The Unthinkable Band, led by Rolin Williamson.
Between the time that the film production was complete and the date the premiere was scheduled for, I had the great opportunity to speak at several churches and civic organizations in Georgia (and a few in Tennessee and Alabama), and a strange thing began to happen, the more I spoke about serving the homeless, the more I felt that I couldn’t stop there. While I knew my heart was aiming toward the homeless, I also knew that some people are more inclined to help children, some people are more inclined to help veterans and some people are more inclined to help abandoned elderly. Some people’s skill sets incline them to be there for a conversation, while some people are better at handy work. The wide array of gifts and talents that make up humanity made it impossible for me to only promote helping the homeless. My reason for wanting to help the homeless, if I am entirely honest with myself, is because I feel Jesus was there for me in the midst of my brokenness. I don’t just like hanging out with homeless people, I see value in homeless people because, like me, in spite of their brokenness, they have incredible inherent value and worth, and if I can help them to see that, not only do they improve, the world they live in is improved as well, and by virtue of my very existence, I share in that world. So wanting to promote passions people feel for all brands of broken people, as I feel for the homeless, I chose to broaden the reach of The Unthinkable Project to all brands of non-profit, social work and with our team cast the official mission statement of The Unthinkable Project as “We Exist to Awaken and Motivate People to Find Value in the Forgotten.”
June 19, 2009
With two weeks under our belt, it is safe to say that One21 has by far exceeded expectations. God is moving. We are watching. If you haven’t made it to one of our gatherings, I highly recommend it. With all of that said, I wanted to let all of you know more about The Unthinkable Project, the parent organization of One21. The Unthinkable Project is a 501C3 organization committed to motivating people to meet the physical and spiritual needs of humanity, more specifically the extremely broken or at-risk members of humanity. Below is part one (of three) of just how we began.
I started The Unthinkable Project in the summer 2007, at the time I was a 20-year-old college student at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta, and started the organization as an effort to increase volunteerism for homelessness in the state of Georgia.
To give you the reason behind starting the organization, I must first fill you in the story that defines my life. I grew up in Dublin, Georgia, a community of approximately 20,000 people located in central Georgia, and while growing up in Dublin did not offer me much experience with the homeless, it did give him a first hand experience at the true strength of a community when it decides to care. Smaller communities, like Dublin, are often looked down upon simply for not having as many people or businesses, but I believe that if citizens of larger cities learned how to love their neighbors, much in the way smaller cities do, all of us would be better off.
So with that perspective on life, and the restlessness that comes with youth, I left Georgia in May of 2007 to spend the summer in Los Angeles, and while I would love to say that I was doing it to help people, that would be a lie. I had a friend who was well connected in southern California, he found me a place to live and work, and I went. When I got out there, I was by myself, the people were new, the places were new, all brands of normalcy that would traditionally exist in ones life was gone. So, not wanting to spend my summer with no friends I decided the first night there that I was going to do whatever it took to make friends, so for three weeks I went to eat at the exact same restaurant every night thinking every restaurant has a consistent few people that will eat there on a fairly regular basis. The restaurant I chose was a local favorite called ‘Birds’, which lies right in the heart of Hollywood, not a mile from the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It was an area of moderate wealth, people coming and going by the plenty, and very little time with the lights off. With all of that said, it was quite a surprise to me when the most consistent person that came along my path was a homeless man named Randae.
Randae had lived in Los Angeles virtually all of his life, served in the military, and had grown up with the dream of becoming a lawyer. Randae’s choices in life, however, took him down a different path, ultimately leaving him homeless. The whole time he was filling me in on his story, the funniest thing was happening to me, my stereotypes of homeless people were changing. I mean Randae looked, smelled, spoke and acted like a “typical homeless person” and his story was not necessarily a break from the homeless norm, but it was HIS story. As I talked to him more and more, he became less of a homeless man and more of Randae, my friend. This relationship led me to begin volunteering with the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission through Mosaic Church in downtown LA. Through serving there, I grew inspired. I became convinced that if the people within communities decided to partner with the local organizations helping the homeless, real progress could be made, not just a meal or a shirt, but genuine, substantial, life changing progress.
Part 2 Will Be Posted Sunday, June 21.
June 13, 2009
Tuesday night we are back with the second One21 of the summer!
Bob Williamson will be leading us in worship and we will be talking about our desire to be known for something… and what it means to be truly known for who we are.
Don’t forget to bring shoes for the children in Malawi, Africa and canned goods/non-perishable food for the Dublin Food Bank!
Greater things are yet to come! See ya Tuesday at 7:30!
P.S. You do not want to miss this week! We will be making a BIG announcement about how we plan to end the summer!
*As always if you have any questions, do not hesitate to email us. One21@unthinkableproject.org
June 10, 2009
WOW! The first week of One21 was something that I will not soon forget. 46 people joined us (which exceeded my expectations) as Bob Williamson led us in proclaiming that God is STILL the God of this City! We announced our plans to have a continual local and global impact this summer, all summer long we will be collecting non-parish able food items to stock the Dublin Food Bank and we will be collecting new or used children’s shoes, preferably crocs or “croc-like” shoes, for an orphanage in Malawi, Africa. We also answered some questions about why we are here, which you can check out by clicking the F.A.Q. section above. After that Joseph Yancy led us in an AMAZING worship set, then we discussed prayer. Which, while I’m thinking about it, what are you praying about that is big?
With all of that said, more than anything – last night confirmed to me that this city is ready to see God move in a mighty way. I am beyond inspired and so humbled by the response we received. Truly, greater things are yet to come!!
June 3, 2009
Here is what we are up to…
May 28, 2009
Today marks 12 days until the beginning of One21. Over the past several weeks, I have had a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), so I decided to answer some of them now. I will do this periodically on the blog.
1. What is One21?
One21 is a weekly bible study and worship service. There will be eight gatherings, each Tuesday night, beginning June 9th, from 7:30-8:45 at 121 S. Lawrence Street in downtown Dublin. Each week will consist of music and teaching.
2. What does the name mean?
The name, One21, comes from the location of the building – 121 S. Lawrence Street
3. Who is overseeing this?
The weekly gatherings will be overseen by The Unthinkable Project, and its Board of Directors, under the leadership of Jonathan Goode.
4. Do you need any help?
Yes! We have several specific needs and would love to personally help you find the area you feel most comfortable serving in. For more information, send an email to One21@unthinkableproject.org
5. What church is affiliated with this?
None. Our objective is to draw people to the face of Jesus, not a church or other religious organization. People from all churches are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
May 27, 2009
Today marks 13 days until the launch of One21.
Pray for our team as we make the final decisions for what we will do for the summer.
May 27, 2009
Welcome to the official blog of One21 – presented by The Unthinkable Project. We are incredibly excited about what this summer is going to hold, and we are expecting big things. Stay tuned to this site for all of the latest news and information concerning One21.
If at any point you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email us directly, our address is: One21@unthinkableproject.org