Stories of Hope
“My mentor took me to the movies!” exclaimed Kayla.
“Mine took me to a yoga class,” shouted Moena, “and then out to ice cream!”
In the Watts household, conversations like these are normal. Why? Because all three daughters – Niaja, Kayla and Moena – have mentors from the Community of Hope Mentoring Program! In true sister style, they always compare their outings and rate the level of fun.
The family first got connected to Community of Hope five years ago when they could no longer stay at a relative’s place.
Two is better than one. That’s what Jenny Browne and her husband, Ryan, thought when they first came across our mentoring program for youth coming from families where homelessness has been a long-term challenge. “We wanted our first time serving together to be something we were both absolutely passionate about.”
An ounce of prevention is worth…
The housing stability for over 214 families who have been referred to Community of Hope. These families have benefitted from the DC government’s launch of the Prevention of Homelessness program. They have come in our doors seeking any assistance available to stay stably housed, usually sharing a home with a family member or friend.
2015 is a year of milestones. 35 years for Community of Hope and now 25 years for a very special partnership we are pleased to be a part of.
For 25 years, Global Harmony Through Personal Excellence has provided homeless families at Community of Hope the opportunity to bring holiday cheer to the elderly residents of the Stoddard Baptist Global Care at Washington Center for Aging Services.
“I never lost connection with Community of Hope,” she said. “It is a place I trust and somewhere I have been for years.”
Jacqueline Aird is not intimidated by her trips to the doctor and dentist! At our Marie Reed Health Center that you have supported, she knows that the staff will greet her by name and that her doctors will talk to her like a long-time friend.
The reason why Ms. Aird is so comfortable with the facility, services and staff? Because she has been a Community of Hope patient for 35 years.
Chris Kerns – Community of Hope board member, volunteer and advocate – always says, “This is the most important work you will do every day.”
To mark 35 years of serving the District’s most vulnerable neighbors, we gathered our founding members for a reunion. We used that moment to present the first-ever Tom Nees Award for Exceptional Service to our champion, Chris Kerns.
When Jasmine was six months pregnant, she came to a community baby shower held at our Conway Health and Resource Center. She was expecting to learn a lot about labor, breastfeeding and basic newborn care. When she left, she had a brand new baby carrier in hand and something more. A community.
It’s the first week of school in Washington, DC. Students are cracking open new crayon boxes, sharpening their pencils, and adjusting to polo shirts and khakis after a summer in shorts and sandals.
When you ask Tatiyanna about her future, she sounds like a typical high-achieving high school student: playful, optimistic and dreaming big. “I either want to be a lawyer or a chemical engineer,” she says. “I’m still deciding.” This soon-to-be senior made honor roll every quarter lastyear, and her schedule next year is packed with advanced placement classes.
But she wasn’t always the well-adjusted student that she is today. When Tatiyanna was in 8th grade, her grandmother – her legal guardian – went through a divorce, forcing the family out of their longtime home. They eventually ended up in a DC homeless shelter.
Life used to be simpler for Joseph and his girlfriend. They lived on a quiet block with their young son, and their second was on the way. Joseph had a reliable job at a hardware store. He had grown up in what he describes as an unsafe area in DC, and he knew he wanted better for his kids. “I wanted to live where my kids could go outside and play, you know?” he remembers.
But three years ago, everything changed. His girlfriend lost her job, their car broke down, and Joseph lost his job, all in quick succession. Any one of those challenges might have been manageable, but all together, they became a crisis.