Summertime and the Giving is Easy
Summer is upon us and we seek your support for ensuring a great summer for each school-aged child and college bound youth in Hope and a Home's Higher Education For All (HEFA) program.
Each child's summer includes both educational and recreational activities, academic instruction, character building, life skills and great fun - including the option of at least one week of "sleepover" camp. We also are conducting our own college prep sessions designed to help our seven high school graduates to hit the ground running when they arrive at their college campuses this fall.
This year we celebrated seven high school graduations, as well as the progress of nineteen additional children enrolled in private schools, thirty enrolled in charter schools and twenty-six in good-performing public schools. We find great joy in watching Hope and a Home's children's small steps and giant leaps as their self confidence grows through their academic successes and their expanded windows on the world afforded by their extracurricular activities.
Four of the twenty-five program participants enrolled in college or certificate programs this year also are graduating. This number includes both parents and young people. Hope and a Home's HEFA program engages adult program participants in educational, vocational and certificate programs that will lead to fulfilling employment that pays a living wage - so that when they graduate they can provide a stable, nurturing home for their children. HEFA also stays connected with young people whose families have graduated, advising and advocating for them until they graduate from high school. Each is encouraged to complete a post-secondary education and HEFA supports their efforts to select an appropriate college and identify financial aid. Hope and a Home's Mike Young Education Fund often contributes to the tuition needs of program participants and graduates.
The education and enrichment opportunity Hope and a Home provides alters the trajectory of lives. At this time of sky-rocketing housing costs, increased homelessness among families and gentrification that threatens low-income residents with displacement, we need your support now more than ever! Your tax-deductible donation is vitally important to our continued success. We ask that you give a gift this summer in support of the hope for a brighter future that is shared by Hope and a Home's families, staff, Board of Directors, friends and supporters like you.
Give Us Credit
A place to call one’s own is a dream come true. Many of the Hope and a Home families have home ownership as their family goal. Strong credit is essential for families to realize their dream of homeownership. There are often credit issues that were not addressed by the family prior to coming into Hope and a Home. It can be discouraging for a family to deal with debt and not know where to begin to repair it. At Hope and a Home we start from day one to help families find the path to a good credit rating and eventual homeownership. Hope and a Home requires that each family meet with a credit counselor in the first month of entrance into our program. The credit counselor works with them on establishing a clear action plan with manageable steps. In addition, each family maintains a monthly budget and strives to live within their means, saving a portion of their income to go towards paying off their debt.
Joanie was determined to own her own home. She had made some bad choices in handling her money in the past and also ended a relationship that had left her straddled with heavy debt. She was committed to turning around her finances one step at a time. She increased her income by obtaining a better paying job. She kept in close contact with her credit counselor to help her decide in what order to pay off her creditors, and she paid all of her bills on time. She saw her credit score begin to climb. She joined a Homebuyer’s Club that prepared her for homeownership so that when she was ready to buy a home she was approved. She and her family have been proud home owners for over 3 years now.
Frances is a single parent with one child. She wanted to have a home that she could call her own. She meticulously budgeted her money and benefited from Hope and a Home’s Savings Bucks incentive program that rewards families $25 for each month that they stay within their budget. She paid her rent on time every month. While her debt was not overwhelming, she still had much that she had to pay off. She juggled many things in her life –providing a nurturing home for her child as well as working and going to school. She kept her goal before her. As Frances was nearing the end of her time in Hope and a Home she applied to a housing cooperative. Those selecting her found her to be a very credit worthy candidate and quickly approved her for her cooperative unit. She now owns her own unit and is very pleased to show off the many decorating touches that have truly made her house a home.
There are many like Joanie and Frances who are now positioning themselves to be homeowners. It is an exciting time at Hope and a Home.
Jackie was in a dead end job. She was a manager in a retail chain store where she worked long hours for low pay and was not valued for her hard work. She was caught in a web of low self esteem and lack of confidence. She came alive when she met with Hope and a Home’s Job Readiness Coordinator who conducted a career assessment, assisted in polishing her resume, and illuminated for her the way to build on the strengths and skills. Jackie soon was able to identify how building on her previous work experience could lead to more rewarding work. Once she had gained the confidence to interview for a position that she really wanted, she was selected for a job as a marketing specialist in a prominent bank in Washington, DC. We knew that she could do it. Now she has discovered that for herself!
John moved from job to job, unable to hold a position for more than several months at a time. He worked in food service and then tried security. None of these developed into meaningful work. Then John came to meet with our Job Readiness Coordinator who worked with him to craft his resume. She conducted and filmed mock interviews with him, followed by critique and suggestions. When John was given a chance at a part time position as a concierge at a high end condominium, something clicked for him. He proved himself to be reliable and trustworthy and the residents thought very highly of him and his quality of work. Soon his supervisors were taking notice. John was offered a full time, permanent job and now he is very proud of the way that he is providing for his family. He has aspirations for bigger and better things –moving into building management, as well as home ownership.
Janice, Constance, and Laurie are all employed in rewarding work, but each has wanted to improve her employment picture. With the support of the Hope and a Home staff, Janice gained the confidence to advocate for herself and receive a significant raise in her administrative job. Constance performs at a high level in her work with the motor vehicles department and has learned how to negotiate for her, which has led to several promotions since coming into Hope and a Home. Laurie was working part time in a dental hygiene program. While there she made good connections with a dental hygiene instructional program at a local university’s dental school – where she’s now employed on a full time basis.
We are very excited about these Hope and a Home parents who not only are moving forward to secure brighter futures for themselves, but also to position themselves to establish stable homes where they can nurture their families.
The annual Help the Homeless Walk has approached another wonderful and expectant year. Fortunately this year we have been able to partner up with again generous caring schools and people. We are especially delighted to hear how many of those schools are representing hundreds of students who are going to "walk" for the homeless. During this time we especially put focus on the issue of homelessness in the Washington DC area.
More than 40% of the local homeless population is comprised of families and 35% of those families are headed by working adults. Over the last decade DC area rents have grown faster than in most major cities and outpaced most households incomes. The low-cost rental stock has shrunk by more than 33%. Hope and a Home offers an intensive multipronged approach that gets at the heart of what is perpetrating poverty for each homeless family it serves.
Through our partnerships with public and private schools, organizations, and individuals like yourself, we could not sustain our movement to help rebuild many of the lives of families in this area. Join the hundreds of elementary, middle school, high school, college, and working professionals in our area to speak out about homelessness and the work Hope and a Home is doing.
Won't you help with a donation to our cause through Global Giving? A donation at this time can help our participants stay warm this winter and help them stay on track as they are taking strides to break the cycle of poverty and gain stability in their lives.
Kendall has always looked to the sky. When his family was in Hope and a Home’s transitional housing program from 2002 to 2005, the shy pre-teen would always open up when he discussed his affinity for all things space-related. All would marvel at his detailed drawings of rockets, missiles and the solar system. The staff at Hope and a Home knew that Kendall’s passion for space could be used as a vehicle to be engaged throughout his academic career. After his family graduated the transitional housing program and moved into permanent housing, Hope and a Home stayed in touch with Kendall through its Work and Thrive youth program.
Work and Thrive is designed to help high-risk/high-potential students in our community develop and reach their full potential. Young people from ages 14 to 21 participate in intensive weekly tutoring, mentoring and life skills training during the school year, and a five week job skills training and placement workshop during the summer months. They also facilitate the development of resumes and interviewing skills, as well as deportment.
Kendall has been active with Work and Thrive throughout his high school career and graduated in June 2012 with a 3.3GPA. He has been accepted into pre-engineering program at a local university and the staff of Work and Thrive are assisting him with the preparation of financial aid paperwork. Through Work and Thrive, Kendall has also been hired for a summer position as a Crew Member for a community environmental organization.
Kendall’s ultimate goal is to be an aerospace engineer and with his support from his family, friends and Hope and a Home, that goal is on its way to becoming a reality.
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