SAN ANTONIO – A Christian leadership summit found a new audience Thursday at Haven for Hope.
The Global Leadership Summit was videocast live from the Wilow Creek Association Campus near Chicago to hundreds of locations around North America, including the San Antonio homeless shelter.
Featuring speakers like Melinda Gates, the Global Leadership Summit was videocast to an audience of about 125,000 who want to learn leadership skills.
According to the head of a sponsor for the event, it's the first time a viewing has ever been held in a homeless shelter.
"Normal crowd is CEO's, VPs, pastors and school teachers and administrators," said Mike Sharrow, president and CEO of C12, a group of Christian CEOs and business leaders
Sharrow said he thinks the leadership lessons will help residents not just escape homelessness but become pillars of the community.
"And I believe we're going to see men and women graduating from Haven for Hope leading in our community, and I think a conference like this is going to be part of that," Sharrow said.
As the voice and image of the Willow Creek Community Church's founder boomed out in the cafeteria, former Haven for Hope resident James Brown listened in. As a peer advocate at the shelter, he hoped the summit would help him in that role.
"Being a leader, being responsible, knowing where you're coming from, taking care of your business basically is what they're really saying," Brown said.
Brown is one of 300 who signed up for the summit at Haven For Hope, including residents of the shelter like Larry Maldonado.
Maldonado, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, said he wants to help others escape addiction. Sitting in the front row, he took notes and soaked up what the speaker on the screen had to say.
"I look at it as obtaining the skills that they have and putting them to use as they have," Maldonado said.