Name: Terence Lester
Profession: Executive Director of Love Beyond Walls, Speaker, & Author
I have put my passion to purpose by: Giving my life to serve and uplift those who are under privileged and on the margins of society. My heart beats to ensure that those who are forgotten get the support and opportunities they deserve.
Terence Lester, a native of Atlanta, GA., has a strong passion for family, God, and seeing change through tangible acts of kindness. Holding four degrees, Lester is actively putting his knowledge to work. 10 plus years of community organizing, leadership development, creative strategizing and volunteer mobilization, he is also the author of five books and co-produced a biographical documentary, The U-Turn Project: Answering The Call.”
Since 2013, Lester has been answering the call through an Atlanta-based non-profit, Love Beyond Walls, that addresses injustices such as homelessness, poverty in education, and food insecurity.
One of Terence’s greatest passions involves connecting creativity to mission work, and moving people to love people where they are. “I knew I was meant to do the type of work I’m doing when I overcame many of the things that could have made me a statistic, or ended my life,” Lester tells BE Modern Man. From workshops (with college professors, parents, and children), to assemblies, to graduations, to college lectures, to conferences and church services of over 3,000; locally and nationally, Lester has creatively shared his story of change and transformation with relevant language, solid truths, passion, and humor. “My personal transformation is what has given me hope that every person (no matter where they find themselves) has the ability to change and make a turnaround,” says Lester. “Seeing how my personal story has impacted others has given me a sense of purpose, calling, and passion for the work we do with Love Beyond Walls.”
During his younger years Lester found himself in a lot of trouble and heading down the wrong direction. “I was an ex-juvenile delinquent, ex-gang member, ex-high school dropout, and ex-misdirected youth.,” Lester tells BE Modern Man. A challenged teen and young adult, it wasn’t until a chance run in with a homeless person that Lester became inspired to change his life. Fast-forward to the present and he has become a husband, father, community leader, public speaker, author, and non-profit leader. “Looking back, I never knew all of this would have started from making a life decision to serve others.”
Over the last two years, Lester has dedicated himself to doing demonstrative campaigns to shed light on injustices plaguing people on the margins. “I’ve intentionally lived homeless for over a month documenting issues, mobilizing people, and creating solutions to better serve those forgotten,” says Lester. A willingness to walk in the shoes of the people he serves to gain a full understanding of their emotional, and physical state. “I’ve worn one outfit for 90 days straight to bring attention to the lack of resources Title 1 School kids face when they live in low-income communities, and a number of other things,” Lester tells BE Modern Man.