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Posts Tagged ‘pictures of hope’

Man With a Heart of Gold

By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction inc.

Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Joel Steen had a daunting task.

He was charged with making sure that a number of young shelter guests could capture their dreams on a digital camera.

Let me explain. Joy Junction was one of 12 charities nationwide chosen to participate in the Pictures of Hope program.

As a result, homeless children from families staying at Joy Junction would take photographs to chronicle their hopes, dreams and vision for the future.

One photo from each child would become a greeting card part of a 15 card set.

Antonio and Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Joel Steen

Antonio and Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Joel Steen

One of the youngsters was Antonio. Camera in hand, he had 48 hours for the assignment. After that, the camera had to be returned to Joel so his picture could become one of the set. However, somehow the camera was mislaid.

Most organizers of an event of this kind would have been at least mildly annoyed. But not Joel.

On his own time Joel met with Antonio and spent several hours the next afternoon walking around the Joy Junction campus learning about each other, as well as Antonio’s dreams.

Antonio's Picturesof Hope card

Antonio’s Pictures of Hope card

The two walked and talked taking pictures. Joel took the youngster into a classroom to put math problems on the board, as one of his dreams is to be a teacher.

Pictures taken and memory card ready to be downloaded, Joel shook the young man’s hand, telling him how much he had enjoyed their time together.

With a huge smile on his face, Antonio then met with our Lisa Woodward, his godmother. She said he had a million questions for her.

“‘What does Joel do for a job here? How old is he? Does he have a family? Has he got any boys like me? Wow he is so neat. Did you know he asked me questions like I am his equal?’”
Lisa said over the next few hours she tried to explain on the level of an eight year old all Joel’s duties at Joy Junction.

She said Antonio than asked, “‘You know something, Lisa?’”

“‘What is that, son?’”

He replied, “‘God and Dr. Reynalds sure know what they are doing.’”

“‘Why is that, Antonio?’”

Lisa said he quickly replied, “‘Because Joel is the neatest man I ever met.’”

Weeks later, Antonio is still peppering Lisa with questions about Joel. Sometimes, she said, he wants to know if he can go and play with Joel.

Lisa said, “Throughout it all Joel still continues to patiently mentor the child, and each time Antonio goes home with more confidence and understanding of those around him.”

Antonio subsequently asked Lisa what Joel liked, as he wanted to buy him something. Joel thanked him, but declined gracefully.

Lisa later took Antonio out to eat breakfast. He said if he couldn’t buy Joel something, could he at least make him a gift?

This past Sunday Antonio asked Lisa at breakfast if he could make Joel something, since he couldn’t buy him anything. She told him he could.

Antonio thought for a minute and said, “‘Joel and God are pretty tight, huh, Lisa?’”

Lisa said, “I giggled inwardly and said, ‘Yes, I think you could say that.’”

The next morning, Antonio spent several hours drawing. Lisa said when she asked him what he had drawn, “He looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, “‘That’s Joel’s and my business, Lisa.’”

Lisa said, “I grinned and apologized for crossing the line. As he ran out the door he yelled back ‘Please get me a appointment with Joel at 4:15 p.m. I assured him I would do my best.”

When I asked Joel what he thought about Antonio’s comments, he was typically understated and modest.

He said, “When I set out to help him, I could easily have taken the photos myself or directed him in what to shoot. I wanted whatever he took, however, to be his photos completely, from concept to picture. I simply guided him along, prompting him with questions, allowing him to make his own conclusions.”

Joel added, “This obviously touched him, and I am grateful I had the opportunity. It’s amazing how far a little patience and kindness will go. Now his prayers, and lately a drawing, touch me!”

Lisa concluded, “The employees at Joy Junction never know how long their season here will be, the jobs take a very emotional toll on us. But whatever length of season Joel is to be with us, I hope he knows how he lifts those around him up, and has made a little boy proud of just being an eight year old little boy.”

Joy Junction Chosen for National Program

TEL: (505) 400-7145

Joy Junction Chosen for National “Pictures of Hope” Program

Cards are now available. To order, please email

POH Logo
Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest homeless shelter, is honored to be one of 12 charities nationwide that have been chosen to participate in the Pictures of Hope program.

Fifteen homeless children from families staying at Joy Junction will take photographs to chronicle their hopes, dreams and vision for the future. One photo from each child will become a greeting card that is part of a 15 card set available for you to order NOW, to be delivered around Thanksgiving.

One hundred percent of the program costs are paid by Chevrolet, and all the proceeds from the card sales will benefit Joy Junction to help support its work with the homeless, right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


One of the beautiful Picturesof Hope cards

One of the beautiful Pictures of Hope cards

Galles Chevrolet is the local sponsor.

The Pictures of Hope program is the creation of Linda Solomon, a nationally recognized and award-winning photojournalist. Linda is also a member of the prestigious Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

Joy Junction is one of only a small handful of “family” homeless shelters in the United States. “Families stay together at Joy Junction,” said Dr. Jeremy Reynalds, founder and CEO of Joy Junction said

Reynalds, who was once homeless himself. He now has a Ph.D. in intercultural education, and founded Joy Junction in 1986.

Joy Junction serves homeless women, children and families.

“Their hopes and dreams captured in quiet moments tell a story that few adults can imagine. When you show children that you care about what they wish for in life, perhaps a child who never felt he or she had self-worth, now will,” said Solomon.

Reynalds said, “We firmly believe that each child entrusted to our shelter should receive positive affirmation, learn that they are precious in God’s sight, and be taught they can accomplish anything in life, by working hard and trusting in God.”

He added, “We are thankful that our kids will participate in the Pictures of Hope program, and have a chance to archive their dreams, to help make their dreams, visions and hopes clear, and residing in their precious heart.”

Joy Junction has other programs for children, including its “Let’s Read” program, to help children learn and nurture a desire to read, a skill they can carry the rest of their life.

A new program starting soon, “Share the Discovery,” will allow homeless children and their families to attend museums to learn about history, and gain a life-long appreciation for the arts.

“Homeless children should have opportunities to learn and grow in spite of their family homelessness,” said Reynalds.

For more information about Joy Junction, visit

To learn more about Pictures of Hope, go to

To find out more about Galles Chevrolet, go to