Thursday, March 18, 2010

So much to celebrate

This week’s weather is so refreshing. What a change from just a couple of weeks ago. I trust Hope Alive’s good news and highlights this week will inspire you as well!

Last Sunday, our resident teen received a trophy for his basketball team’s first place tournament finish. Then early this week, our youngest resident learned to pull himself up to a standing position and started to crawl today - there's no stopping him now. The following day, our soon to be 3 year old achieved a major milestone in our “Potty Training Academy”. I won’t go in to further detail on this one, but needless to say he was a very proud little boy. Yesterday, one of our school-age children announced she was writing to God to let Him know just how she's feeling. This is a giant step in her healing process.

One resident mom passed her driving test today and couldn’t wait to share the news with staff and volunteers. For the first time ever, all of our resident moms at Hope Alive have their driver’s licenses. Last night, our recent graduate family returned for dinner and a visit. We sure do miss them, but we're so thankful they are doing well.

And we top off the week with a third birthday celebration for one of our preschoolers today. Wow! Many weeks at Hope Alive are challenging, but this one has been especially fun and rewarding with so much to celebrate.

Enjoy the beautiful sunny warm weather this weekend. Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Friday, March 12, 2010

Intake freeze

By now you may have heard or read in our March newsletter that we have instituted an intake freeze at Hope Alive. This means that even though we have beds available, we do not have the resources or staff required to continue to operate at capacity. Jody - our Family Ministry Specialist - is not only intensely working with our current resident families on a daily basis, but she also serves our growing number of families in the after-care phase with more graduations scheduled in the coming months. Families graduating from Hope Alive's residential phase are a great cause for celebration, but our reality says we can no longer do more with less.

Our 2010 operating budget provides for three new part-time staff positions to work with an increasing number of families, but until we can increase our income and solve our cash flow problem we are forced to maintain an intake freeze. For Hope Alive - as is typical with nonprofit organizations - half of our charitable gifts are received the last 3 months of the year during the holiday season. We're working hard to correct this by raising an additional $55,000 by June!

This decision is painful in light of the phone calls from homeless families we continue to receive. We just want to ignore our reality and take them in anyway, but this isn't fair to all the families who already call Hope Alive home. Above all, we don't want to jeopardize the core services they already receive that are so effective in moving them forward to health, wholeness, and stable permanent housing.

Please help us spread the word and join us in our efforts to serve as many homeless families as possible in 2010. One fun way you can help is to attend our upcoming Visions for Hope event on Thursday, April 29. This is a silent auction of children's artwork - including our own Hope Alive kids - to support our children's programs for our youngest residents.

Check out our website at or call us at 301.241.4005 for more information. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Until next week ...

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Graduation celebration

Today, we celebrated a major milestone with a family’s graduation from Hope Alive’s residential phase. In January – after a year and a half – this young mother and her preschooler moved back to the community to live on their own for the very first time!

During our celebration today, it was wonderful to hear the funny stories shared by our resident families, staff and volunteers and the heartwarming ways this family impacted so many lives. It was inspiring as we recalled and applauded her for all the wonderful accomplishments she has achieved – college courses, completion of a substance abuse program, debt resolution, compliance with all legal issues, working two part-time jobs, success as a parent as well as all the developmental milestones her daughter reached. But the biggest changes we celebrated are those that occurred in her heart. She came to Hope Alive over 18 months ago with poor self esteem, distrust, and an “I can’t do it” attitude. Now she is supporting herself and her daughter with self confidence, high motivation, and commitment to success. She has opened her heart and found healing and learned that she can trust others. She admitted that even though she still doesn’t receive the praise she wants from her family, she knows she always has an extended family that is there for her and her daughter with encouragement and unconditionally love.

This is what the Hope Alive mission is all about … embracing homeless women and their children with God’s life-changing love and empowering them with Christian values, dignity and the skills they need to live self-sustaining lives filled with hope and a future.

What a privilege to be a part of the Hope Alive family and to watch what God can do in each heart and life! Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director