Portraits of Strength

Stories of Redemption

The Portraits of Strength gallery, created by Lydia Bailey, features photos and stories of LMM staff members who have overcome extreme challenges in their lives, now using their experiences to help others. Their adversity has turned to strength with their work going to the full sense of vocation. Hiring these individuals has greatly benefited LMM. Their stories are a testimony to the advantages of Fair Chance Hiring in the workplace. Read their stories below.

The full Portraits of Strength gallery will be released later this year. Want to learn more or host the gallery? Contact Lydia Bailey, Coordinator of Volunteers at the Men’s Shelter, at lbailey@lutheranmetro.org.

Cynthia Johnson

Supervisor of Haven Home, Family Overflow

Like so many who work in service in Cleveland with LMM, Cynthia Johnson has her own story, but hers started on the right side of the counter.  Then came the fall that would take everything away from her…but would also replace what she lost with toughness, faith and experience she now uses to help the people she serves.

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Anthony "Stone" Williams

Property Liaison, LMM TIP Program

His voice is gravelly, but oh so compassionate as the words roll out with statements that encourage naturally from his own experience.  When he was bullied by other kids from the neighborhood, his dad taught him how to throw punches and fight back.  He was a natural at fighting, so they started calling him “Stone,” because of his fists. Now he fights differently. He fights for people.

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James Walker

Projects Coordinator, Housing & Shelter

James talks about his coffee “Wild Mountain Blueberry.” He chuckles, “got to see what this Blueberry Coffee is like.” James is enjoying life, it seems to me, in all its small and large ways. He says “I am grateful,” more than a few times. James seems at peace, how he speaks about living a meaningful life now, having come through many years in prison.

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Michael Waters

Community Coordinator of some 100 residents in the Gateway Dorm

Mike says he’s “a street boy and don’t take kindly to threats,” but in reality, Mike comes right back with actions to help and heal, keeping lines of communication open. Kindness is Mike’s MO.  A poster of Bob Marley hangs in his office, and Marley’s “Redemption Song” captures the theme of Mike’s life.  Mike often says, “It’s okay, it’s okay.” He is a force of acceptance and respect all bound up with his off-the-wall humor and professional demeanor.

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Terry Vaughn

Coordinator of Central Intake

The residents often swarm around Terry Vaughn as he walks through the halls.  He is generous of spirit and is connected with social service agencies across the city.  They know he is the one to go to.  He grew up in a chaos that lasted 40 years.  Yet, he met some extraordinary people along the way who helped him in the slow process of building structure in his life. For the past 7 years, 2100 has given an annual award to one staff person in honor of this extraordinary man.  It’s called “The Terry Vaughn Compassion Award”.

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