In this amazing story, Jeremy Reynalds, who founded and runs New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter and was once homeless himself, shares how he rose from the despair of homelessness to the pinnacle of academia, earning a doctorate in intercultural education at Biola University in La Mirada, California.
In addition, the book contains stories of a number of people who have fallen on hard times and have gotten back on their feet again with the help of the Lord at Joy Junction.
No matter who you are, or where you come from, everybody is somebody. How many times have you walked by a homeless person? What were you thinking when you saw them? Did you assume anything? The reason I ask is because for so many, it happens by circumstance. Their dire straits lead them down a path that puts them in this situation. The hardest part is that for so many, they have become dehumanized and invisible to those around them.
After reading A Sheltered Life: Take It To The Streets, no matter how tough times may get, you really appreciate what you have in your life. It really humanized the people who are homeless and shattered the stigma stereotype of who is and why. Many of the stories that were shared in the book, could be anyone you know. Just because someone is homeless, doesn't mean that they want to be, do drugs and alcohol or have mental problems. When you read about what led them to be and what they had to go through, it makes you realize that so many people are literally a paycheck away.
The heart of the book centered around Jeremy Reynolds. After immigrated here from England, a series of events transpired in his life that led to his own homelessness. Through his faith and generosity of strangers, he built his life up and created New Mexico's largest homeless shelter and shared how it has transformed the community.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It really inspired me to want to do more within my community to help where I can. Just to let you know, this book was centered around someone with a strong faith background. For those who may be put off from any references of religion, throughout the book there are mentions to aspects of his Christian beliefs being credit to his transformation, his work and certain parts of his organization that is based through faith. Despite that, with the different parts collectively that told this story, it presents the reader with an insightful look on a segment of the population that gets ignored and doesn't get talked about.
Reviewed by Michelle Bowles
Publisher: WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson
Publication date: 4/8/2013