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Sep 29, 2022

Council President Blaine Griffin and Councilwoman Stephanie Howse joined Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry CEO Maria Foschia, and VP of Housing & Shelter Michael Sering to display their “Portraits of Strength. Stories of Redemption” display in City Hall’s rotunda. The showcase includes images and stories from the book of the same title, authored by Lydia Bailey, LMM’s Volunteer Coordinator.

“Portraits of Strength. Stories of Redemption” shares the stories of fifteen employees at LMM’s Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside. The shelter is the largest men’s shelter in Ohio. At full capacity, it provides shelter for nearly 400 nightly. 

The LMM employees highlighted in the exhibition and book received a second chance at life because of LMM’s work. LMM leaders shared that the book and display “allows a visual and gritty experience of despair, prison, homelessness, redemption, and community.”

The core of LMM’s work revolves around helping people recovering from addiction, recently released from prison, and those down on their luck to earn a “second chance.” LMM’s training, staff, and compassion assist many Clevelanders and northeast Ohioans in earning and receiving that “second chance.” LMM’s leadership also shared that the text demonstrates that “hiring people with lived experiences allows them to better connect with their clients and demonstrate compassion for the work they do.” 

Councilwoman Howse praised LMM for their work, stating, “People come to LMM at their most vulnerable times. LMM’s work provides hope to others for a brighter future. 

The City of Cleveland is an employer that also believes in second chances. Council President Blaine Griffin addressed second chances at the event when he spoke about “banning the box”, a practice the City employs. Banning the box removes questions about criminal history from the city of Cleveland job applications, evening the playing field for applicants. 

The September 29 display in City Hall Rotunda is the exhibition’s opening. It will next appear at Trinity Commons on Friday, October 21, and be the subject of a deans forum on Sunday, October 23, also at Trinity Cathedral.

To learn more about the book, the exhibition, and the work of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, please visit