Speakers Bureau

Program Description

For over 20 years, the Speakers Bureau has provided hundreds of men and women the opportunity to share their personal experiences of homelessness and recovery from that trauma with thousands of concerned adults and children. The hardship, misfortune, and abuse that have led to homelessness as well as the courage, wisdom and determination that lead overcoming it have inspired many people to provide assistance to those who are homeless and to advocate for policies that help people rebuild their lives.

Speakers Bureau Member Featured on NPR

On November 12, 2010, millions of NPR listeners heard Showaye Selassie, one of the Interfaith Assembly's Life-Skills Empowerment Program graduates, share a portion of her moving personal story about being homeless as a child and growing up with a mother struggling with schizophrenia. The response to Showaye's story from NPR listeners, including some who themselves grew up with a family member with schizophrenia, has been very special and speaks to the power that personal testimony can have in the healing process - a central element of the Interfaith Assembly's Life-Skills Empowerment Programs.

Click here to listen to Showaye's story and read listeners' responses on NPR's website.

What People Are Saying About Our Presentations

"The honest and open discussion that the representatives of the group gave was amazing. It was so much more than most other presentations and I feel that it made a real impact on our kids. ... It is difficult to talk about these things when most of our staff haven't experienced anything like it themselves. Starting with them was a great kick off to a week long discussion on helping others, shared community, and charity." - Greg Nissen, Director of Quinipet Camp and Retreat Center.

"Being able to hear first hand the hardships encountered by people who spent years living on the streets was extraordinarily powerful. The students were enthralled listening to their stories and were able to have a conversation with them in order to really understand the issues that homeless folk have to deal with in their daily lives. It not only helped our kids gain a better understanding of what it means to be homeless, but also helped them appreciate what they have and to not take for granted the fact that they have a permanent home." - Ricardo Vela, Teacher at White Plains High School.

How Can I Find Out More Or Schedule A Presentation?

For more information or to request a presentation, please email Dennis at dennis@iahh.org or call the Interfaith Assembly's office at 212-316-3171.

References are available upon request.