Happy Holidays from Central Outreach & Advocacy Center!

Without your support, we would not be able to provide the crucial programs and services that help our guests find employment and overcome homelessness.
As you consider which causes you will support at the end of this year, we hope you will include Central OAC. Each donation makes a difference in the lives of those we serve.
We wish you and your family a safe, warm, and happy holiday season!

The Staff, Board, Volunteers,
& Guests of Central OAC

Our cover art was created by one of our guests in our Central ArtWorks program. Many of our guests are regular contributors to our Central ArtWorks spring fundraiser, and we are grateful for their gifts and their willingness to share them with us.
Central OAC's Holiday Party!
On December 15th, our guests were treated with lots of goodies and yummy food to kick off the annual OAC Christmas party. Guests were able to eat, sing Christmas carols and talk with our volunteers and friends who came down to chat while waiting to receive their services. Our party wouldn't have been as much fun without the show stealing performance from Miss Betty on the piano.
Hello again from the Central OAC FANN members!
Last month we decided to have a Christmas party celebrating the community we have built with each other. We took some time in one of our November meetings to discuss the details and decided that we would have it catered by Jason’s Deli and enjoy some refreshments, cake, and Secret Santa surprises! Everyone picked a name and decided on a minimum budget and on December 14 th we exchanged gifts over some great food and with some great company. Being able to spend time together sharing joys, concerns, hardships, and happiness are why our members continue to come back to each meeting.
FALL 2017 Interns
Each semester, we have interns serving with us at Central OAC. Interns vary in schools and degrees. It’s always nice to have interns who bring new energy, insight and skills to our team. We recently asked some of our interns three questions:

What was the best part about being at the OAC?
What was the hardest part about being at the OAC?
Did your time at the OAC change your thoughts towards those experiencing homelessness?

Here are four different responses …

Glory Cumbow … Clinical Pastoral Education, Columbia Theological Seminary

The best part of working at the OAC is getting to empower others in making a difference in their lives. Whether that means I can help them with getting documentation, food, medical attention, or clothing, I am glad I can be a part of helping people access necessary services. 

The hardest part of being at the OAC is when we don't have the ability to provide services for all needs. Our guests have very complex circumstances affecting their lives, and while the OAC is a great "first stop" to meeting their myriad needs, we also have to say "no" and turn people away when they ask for services we cannot provide. 

My time at the OAC has shown me that there are typically numerous factors contributing to homelessness. Having a job is not a "fix-all" to someone who is experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, our society is not set up for people to overcome homelessness, at least not without great difficulty. 

Stephon Ferguson … Pastoral Care, The International Theological Center

What was the best part about being at the OAC?
Being a part of an initiative that helps those in need, seeing the smiles on the faces of guests, being able to talk with some of the guests, listen to their concerns and offer spiritual support. Knowing that I played a role in the overall mission of helping to make a difference in the lives of others.  
What was the hardest part about being at the OAC?
Seeing and hearing about the struggles that many of the guests have, hearing their responses to where they slept the night before – in a car, under the bridge, by the church. Realizing that there is only so much that can be done to help, wishing I could do more.
Did your time at the OAC change your thoughts towards those experiencing homelessness?
It was very thought provoking and brought into reality the seriousness of the problem of poverty and having no place to call home. It made me want to give more of my time toward ending homelessness and encourage others to do the same. It gave me a greater sense of the needs that people have on a day to day basis and how important it is to help meet those needs.

Angela Payne … Public Policy with a Nonprofit Leadership Management Concentration, Georgia State University

The part that I have enjoyed best about being at Central Outreach and Advocacy Center is the morning huddle. The team starts the morning with their joys and concerns and then we pray together over our thoughts. Being at the OAC makes me feel like I am making a difference in someone's life, after leaving the center. The hardest part about being at the OAC is not being able to help every person that walks through our doors and seeing a lot of mental illness but not being able to heal each person. The time I have spent at the OAC has not changed my mind about people experiencing homelessness; it has only made me love them more. 

Naomi Ruffin … Honors Class, Georgia State University Arts and Sciences

The best part was getting to know everyone within the art ministry. I enjoyed the conversations I had with guests and enjoyed getting to know each individuals story, as much as they were willing to tell me.

The hardest part for me was initiating conversation during the first few weeks because I tend to be uncomfortable in social situations and get nervous, but as weeks went by I became more comfortable.

From volunteering, I became more aware of the multifaceted nature of homelessness and how there are many elements involved in helping to serve those experiencing homelessness and helping them recover from it.
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