This Life: Motivated by love, millennial-fueled nonprofit takes action

Taos Wynn sat on a Haitian rooftop, surveying the damage to the impoverished Caribbean nation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, thinking.

In just seven days on the island, he’d seen more poverty, more suffering than he cared to remember.

As he recorded his thoughts on the pages of his journal that hot summer day in 2013, he thought of his hometown. He’d seen the twin challenges of poverty and hunger here in Atlanta, too.

It was in that moment, during yet another mission trip, Wynn said, that he had a compelling feeling to do something more at home, more with an idea he had but had abandoned for two years.

“I didn’t know what that would translate into or how to start, but I had the heart to serve,” he said.


Wynn, 32, had grown up watching his parents, Army veteran Raymond and Elaine Wynn, help and encourage others, fulfilling what they believed was God’s call to love their fellow man.

And so no matter the military base, the Wynn home was often chock-full of neighbors, kids in particular, who were welcome at the kitchen table for mentoring sessions and on family outings.

“They always demonstrated a willingness to help others the best they could,” he said.

RELATED: Veteran civil rights attorney providing clean water, life to Haiti

Back at home, Wynn and a small group of friends decided it was time they did the same. They gathered in his family’s kitchen, assembled 20 sandwiches and hit the streets of Atlanta in search of homeless men and women in need of a meal.

“We just wanted to do good,” he said.

The opportunity was vast. With a heart big enough to match the need, Taos Wynn decided to stay the course, to seek nonprofit status for the Perfect Love Foundation, the organization he’d conceived two years earlier, and live out his passion for people.

In 2014, he won that approval. Taos Wynn has been committed to the call to help, ever since.

By provoking people to love, he believes he and his team of millennials can create a better future for all of us.

“I really believe that love is the solution for a lot of what we see now,” he said.

That includes the hatred, the political division, and yes, even the effects of poverty.

“Our volunteers are on fire to help people,” he said.

The foundation’s volunteers are largely made up of a band of millennials, that generation of people who like Wynn were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, people who are often thought of as narcissistic, individualistic and self-absorbed.

“We’re challenging that norm and reshaping that image of millennials,” Wynn said with a twinkle in his eye. “Everyone helps. We help differently.”

If millennials are the engine of the foundation, S.O.S. or what Wynn calls love of self, love of others, and love of service is the fuel propelling it forward.

“Everything we do is rooted in love,” he said.

RELATED: Opening doors for metro Atlanta’s homeless

What exactly do they do?

Well, they still pass out sandwiches to the homeless, although on a much larger scale. They collect and donate hygiene kits for the homeless and disaster relief efforts. They host game days at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Quarterly, they recognize outstanding citizens who exemplify exceptional service to their communities. And as often as they feel needed, they stand in the gap, advocating for people they believe have little to no voice.

When the Georgia Senate was working to pass a sex trafficking bill, Perfect Love volunteers showed up, adding their voice to the debate and supporting the creation of a hotline for victims. More recently, they created the Unify Georgia initiative, which worked to bring people together in support of racial and gender equality and to stand against discrimination.

The initiative was recognized March 9 as an official day in the Capitol.

By fall, Wynn said, they plan to launch Leading Hope, a program focused on encouraging middle school students to reach their full potential.

“We really want to disrupt negative cycles of insecurity and poverty,” Wynn said. “We call it a movement to encourage academic excellence and empower students to become leaders for community and generational change.”

Last year, Taos Wynn, a 2009 graduate of Emory University, was named the 2017 Millennial of the Year and a recipient of the Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award, one of the highest honors given by the state of Georgia.

You can see why.

Find Gracie on Facebook ( and Twitter (@GStaples_AJC) or email her at

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

Christmas 2018: Target to offer cheese Advent calendar this season
Christmas 2018: Target to offer cheese Advent calendar this season

Target has the perfect holiday gift for the cheese lovers in your life -- a cheese Advent calendar.  The store has teamed up with a company called So Wrong It’s Nom, KYW reported.  Officials with the company said the calendar will be available in 247 Target stores in the U.S., and can also be found in stores in the UK, France...
Theater review: Juvenile ‘School of Rock’ pumps up the volume
Theater review: Juvenile ‘School of Rock’ pumps up the volume

As of this writing, the morning after the national touring production of the Broadway musical “School of Rock” opened at the Fox Theatre (where it runs through Sunday), my ears are still ringing. It kind of takes me back to my vaguely distant youth, in a way, and seeing bands like the B-52s, the Police or the Pretenders rock the Fox...
Erica Mena, boyfriend arrested in Johns Creek
Erica Mena, boyfriend arrested in Johns Creek

TMZ said Clifford DIxon and Mena got into an argument and he allegedly knocked her bedroom door down. Dixon was arrested for criminal trespass. Mena was arrested for possession of pot.  She moved to Atlanta last year in time to be part of  VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” after spending time on “Love and...
Mountain Mints are champions for landscape or backyard habitat
Mountain Mints are champions for landscape or backyard habitat

A couple of weeks ago I was walking a trail and had one of those OMG moments as I spotted a plant 20 feet away and could tell it was a champion of pollinators. At the risk of being a plant geek, I will tell you it was amazing to watch the bees, swallowtails, and hairstreaks all on a frenzy to get to the flowers. When this happens you simply have to...
A happily ever after living room
A happily ever after living room

The story of Leslie and Dan’s house could have ended so differently. This charming family home could have been reduced to a pile of rubble, wiped out to make room for a sparkling new house. But after sitting vacant for nine long years, the house has been lovingly brought back to life, room by room, by this visionary pair. Today, I can’t...
More Stories