A Moment of Pure, Simple Joy at Atlanta Mission

Cara Staff

It has become the new normal to focus on the loneliness, hardship, and tragedy the world faces due to the spread of COVID-19. But even in this unprecedented time, there are moments of joy. Our friends at Atlanta Mission, a homeless shelter and an affiliate of Cara Plus, remind us that friendship and opportunity are more important than ever.

Greg is in his twenties and came to Atlanta Mission after battling addiction. He didn’t talk very much when he first arrived; he didn’t think he needed support from anyone. That is until he met Roger, who serves as a father to many of the younger men in the community. Roger is in his fifties and had previously owned a construction company. Similar to Greg, he is bouncing back from his challenges with addiction. Greg and Roger became fast friends, and their friendship allowed Greg to slowly open up and really thrive.

In the story below, Greg shares a moment of joy he recently celebrated with Roger. Both friends continue to excel and find gainful employment through Atlanta Mission @Work, the new workforce development program at Atlanta Mission steeped in Cara’s methodology and co-created by our two organizations.

“I started forming relationships with my fellow bunk-mates, each one unique in character and level of engagement. Roger and I became pretty well acquainted since we both share the same nightly routines. When the rest of the guys take their places in bed for their nightly repartee, that’s our cue to find a quiet seat in the hallway for reading, listening to podcasts, processing, and relaxation. To this day we continue this ritual, always the last to retire for the evening.

I’ve gotten to know a great deal about Roger’s journey. I’m familiar with his strengths; he is interminably dedicated to all things ethical such as duty and honor. It shocked me that he has no military background. His weaknesses and pitfalls have also become familiar. He is averse to any outside assistance even when he clearly needs it like when filling out online applications. I made it a point to help Roger where I could because we both shared concerns that the road back to employment could end up being a long and rocky one. His age and turbulent background seemed to always be at the forefront of his thoughts.

Since I received my job offer, I have felt immensely grateful. But I worried there was a cloud hovering above my head and nothing felt for certain. Until yesterday.

I was sitting outside soaking up the glorious springtime weather when Roger walked up to me looking a bit stunned. When I asked how his interview went, he replied in a daze, “I start training Saturday.”

Now I have experienced many joyous moments before, but I can’t recall the last time I felt like this. My smile was involuntarily testing the elasticity of my face; it could not be removed! I’m not sure exactly what made that moment different from any other experience, but I felt unadulterated joy. No strings attached, no personal gain, no ulterior motives… just pure, simple joy.

Roger has let the news sink in and his joy is shining through as he danced and began to sing to himself as he mixed up a cup of coffee this morning. It is a blessing to see!

The team at Atlanta Mission has been an integral part of the crest we are currently riding, and our time in quarantine would be much harder to manage if it weren’t for your love and support.I leave you with a heartfelt THANK YOU!”

In 2019, Atlanta Mission, a nonprofit that annually serves more than 7,000 members of Metro Atlanta’s homeless population, became a Cara Plus affiliate and launched their own workforce development program, Atlanta Mission @Work. During this uncertain time when we are all asked to stay at home, you can help fill the urgent needs of more than 800 men, women, and children whose home is at Atlanta Mission.

Visit https://atlantamission.org/urgent-needs-during-the-covid-19-crisis/ for more information on how you can show your support.