image credit: CM Forrest, StreetWatch
My StreetWatch team partner Kirstin Cassell and I took Olympic gold medalist Joey Cheek, his mom, Chris Cheek, and his girlfriend, Margaux Isaksen to meet some of our homeless friends at the FM tent city on Thursday, Oct. 4th. The News & Record’s Tina Firesheets went along and here’s what she had to say:
Joey Cheek and his entourage veered off the newly finished Downtown Greenway on Thursday into a wooded area that the Greensboro native didn’t know existed.
The campsite below the Freeman Mill Road bridge is home to a group of homeless people who look out for one another like family.
They didn’t know much about Cheek — other than he’s an Olympic gold medalist. Still, they like visitors, homeless advocate Michele Forrest said.
“They were impressed that he’s willing to help other (homeless) people,” she said.
Cheek approached a circle of chairs between a large tent and a fire pit, introduced himself and struck up conversation. They told him about their frustrations and hardships. Some spoke of their work or families.
Joey spent over an hour around the fire circle talking to some of the residents of the tent city and hearing their stories. He then toured the property, saw each of the individual camp sites and learned more about the history of the tent city, which has been on the downtown Greensboro property for as long as I can remember.
The tent city residents are usually wary of folks who want to tour their camps. But I had talked to them a few days earlier to get their permission to bring Joey to meet them and I’d told them that he’d founded Team Darfur, to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis there, that he’d donated his Olympic medal winnings to Right to Play, prompting other athletes to do the same, resulting in $390,000 in donations for the charity and that now he was coming to Greensboro to raise awareness and raise funds for the IRC. In the N&R article, Tina writes that the tent city residents were impressed that Joey helped “other (homeless) people”, but they were actually equally impressed by his work with Team Darfur and Right to Play. (Me, too.)
>> Read about Joey’s visit to the Interactive Resource Center: Olympian Joey Cheek visits Greensboro’s homeless at NewsRecord.com.