Housing conference inspires and motivates SOKY member

Would you like to know how to get motivated and have a fire set in your soul? Spend a weekend with the people that make up the Homes for All South group.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to represent KFTC at the Homes For All South conference in Nashville, TN May 4-6. The weekend was full of activities, workshops and sessions that were energetic, inspiring and motivating.

Housing is a human right many people struggle with and fight for every day and sadly, many people have a fight they cannot win alone. Homes for All is made up of individuals from many organizations all across the south. They help people in their fight, as a collective group. Throughout the weekend, we were able to share our own work, pick the brains of those doing amazing projects across the region and take away ideas, resources and a sense of satisfaction for the work we do.

I grew up in a very conservative religious home where politics were never discussed. I have always exercised my right to vote, but I have never been involved in other way. It was during my undergrad studies at WKU that I was introduced to KFTC during a training on the power of our stories. During the process of writing my own story, I learned I have the ability to change things around me. I learned my story could help change someone else’s life or inspire change.

As I drive around the town I’ve lived in my whole life, I see vacant land, vacant buildings that could be re-purposed. As a former correctional officer I know the need for transitional housing, a homeless shelter, a community garden and a place where people can go for resources. I have all of these ideas floating in my head and I have the motivation but I need help with the next steps.

The Homes for All South conference was full of information, resources and spark (remember I said earlier about setting that fire in your soul). I needed to go back to my community and start dumping my brain. I have met with individuals on two separate occasions just days out from the conference … this is crazy!!  I’m currently researching my project ideas, putting together some data, numbers and actively seeking like-minded people to help. Thanks to the information I received at the conference, I have a step-by-step model to go by that also has every resource I could possibly need.

Ghandi is often credited with the quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” As a sociologist/criminologist, these words resonate in my soul. The people involved with the Home for All South, embody those words. The collectiveness they have as a group is fierce and inspiring and there is nothing too big to accomplish. We have to fight for change and the fight is much sweeter when you are surrounded by like-minded people, who are non-judgmental and create a safe environment to learn and grow as a leader.

KFTC has continued to offer these life-changing opportunities for me to grow and learn so I can share with my community and hopefully lead to change. I left this conference with the fire, I left feeling empowered and I left feeling like I belong to a collective group that shares my passion. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Homes for All is this group of people and I’m glad I’m on board and I’m thankful KFTC allowed me the opportunity to learn about housing which such an amazing group.

This weekend sparked a deep introspective look at myself and how far I’ve come since my childhood. I realized that I am the change I want to see in the world. I grew up in a conservative home never talking about politics and here I am, not only talking politics but actively fighting for change!!

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