TURN IT

Michael Henson Speaks at the Mount
May 2009

The Service Learning Program at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio featured guest speaker, author, and social justice advocate, Mike Henson, on February 19, 2009. The program, "From the Heart," an event that examined new issues involving the homeless population in Ohio and the tri-state region, allowed attendees a bold inside look at Henson's work with the homeless population, which includes mentally ill individuals as well as war veterans and individuals experiencing or recovering from substance abuse.

In addition to his advocacy and work as a substance abuse recovery counselor, Henson is a widely published and award-winning poet, playwright, fiction writer, and essayist. He is also a columnist for Streetvibes, a bi-weekly alternative newspaper. Henson’s books include Ransack, A Small Room with Trouble on My Mind, The Tao of Longing, and Crow Call. Henson recently had one of his plays staged at the 2009 Fringe Festival.

At “From the Heart,” Henson discussed two capacities in which he’s worked with the homeless, as a director at Talbert House and as a counselor in The Drop Inn Center Recovery Program, and shared anecdotes about his counseling work. Henson challenged guests to become more active in their awareness and assistance with homeless citizens.

“There are ways to work with and help the homeless that stretch far beyond the system itself," he said, "and we really need to get moving on this help, because the homeless population is not growing smaller." Henson implored people to “make a commitment as a society,” in order for true social change to occur.