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16th Street Bridge Mural

If you’ve visited the North End Neighborhood of Charlotte recently, you may have noticed a change in scenery at the 16th Street Bridge!

Men’s Shelter of Charlotte partnered with artists, Sam Guzzie and Lane Morris, and North End Partners to create a mural at the 16th Street and Tryon Street underpass in the North End neighborhood. Men’s Shelter of Charlotte volunteers and guests assisted with the cleanup of the underpass and participated in the creation of the mural. Volunteers from North End Partners and CMPD Metro Division also assisted with the cleanup of the underpass.

North End Partners received a $2,500 grant from Unite Charlotte Fund (administered by United Way of Central Carolinas) for the project. Additional financial support was provided by City of Charlotte and Norfolk Southern RR, while Magnolia Paints of Benjamin Moore South End provided a portion of the supplies.

The project will seek additional grant funding to support the second stage of this project – specifically to complete a mural on the other side of the underpass, to improve the lighting under the bridge, and to install flowers and plants in the areas by the bridge. CMPD Metro Division is also working with the City of Charlotte to improve the lighting and to cut back foliage along North Tryon.  

Monetary Donations are also being accepted from individuals and companies to support this improvement project. Visit the GoFundMe campaign for the 16th Street Bridge Mural.

Check out the story WSOC did on the bridge!

VISTAs Join Team MSC

The Men’s Shelter recently launched as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) site, meaning that we are hosting four full-time volunteers for a one-year period to help increase economic and housing opportunities for our men in shelter. Three of our VISTAs have arrived!

Dawn (pictured right) is helping to launch our first Employment Partner’s breakfast and building relationships with local employers to ensure we can connect our guests to meaningful employment. Daniella (middle) is creating new volunteer opportunities around employment, as well as strengthening the infrastructure for volunteers in our Housing and Employment Resource Center. Phyllis (pictured left) is working to more accurately track our housing outcomes and building relationships with local landlords to ensure we can connect our guests to appropriate housing.

Give a warm welcome to Phyllis, Dawn, and Daniella as they embark on their incredible year of service! Our fourth VISTA, Daniel, will be joining us in September to build volunteer infrastructure around our housing work. 

Working the HERC

by Greg Asciutto

When I started volunteering in the Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC) at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte two years ago to help men build resumes, apply for housing and search for employment. 

I saw the experience as a way to familiarize myself with the needs of Charlotte’s homeless community. I was in my first year of teaching at Garinger High, where roughly 5% of the student population is homeless. Through the shelter’s guests, I thought I’d be able to learn about the city’s complex social service system so I could be a better resource for my students and their families.

Fortunately, the dozens of men whom I’ve grown close to over the past few years have taught me about more than how to navigate that system; they’ve taught me how to be human.

When I walk into the HERC, I feel part of a community that genuinely cares for its members. It’s not all “business,” and for the sake of sanity it can’t be; politics, sports and family are just as important topics of conversation as housing application statuses and job interviews. Even when the end game is housing, life has to continue – helping men with that balancing act is what keeps me coming back each week. 

Visit out website for more information about the HERC or to sign up for other volunteer opportunities! 

F3 Going Strong at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte

Jordan, bottom left, doing those push-ups!

This year, longtime volunteer, Jordan Abshire, launched a weekly boot-camp workout at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte in partnership with F3 Nation (Fitness, Faith and Fellowship). The workout was aptly named Fortitude.

Jordan viewed the workout as another vehicle to bring a sense of normalcy to guests in a time of disruption in their lives. He connected with John Lambert, who had started a similar F3 workout at Charlotte Rescue Mission…and the rest is history! Click here to read John’s account of the inaugural Fortitude workout.

Jordan recently noticed something different about the participating guests; an unmistakable new light in their eyes, an energy, and a bounce in their step. Executive Director, Liz Clasen-Kelly, recognized what he was describing and explained: “That Light you saw was Hope.”

Clear to Jordan was that the goal of the F3 Fortitude workouts was being met when one guest thanked an F3 member after his first workout for “making him feel normal for a little while.”

Join us any Tuesday at 5:30 am at our Tryon Campus (1210 North Tryon Street). It’s early but it will allow you to connect with our guests in a personal way, on the same level, as teammates struggling and preserving and encouraging each other in the pursuit of better health and fitness.

Be sure to follow our Tuesday workouts on Twitter, #Fortitude.

A smile that is contagious

Meet Derek and Fred.

The pair volunteers at the shelter at least 3 days a week.  Some days you will find them greeting guests and passing out drinks during lunch.  Other days they will organize and sort donations in the commissary. 

Derek & Fred pic

One thing is for sure – Derek’s smile is contagious.  He brings energy and compassion to melt your heart. 

“We are fortunate that Men’s Shelter of Charlotte allows us to spend a few hours each week with the men.”

Thank you, Derek & Fred, we’re truly lucky to have them!

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