Friday, July 30, 2010

Achieving our mission

I’m excited to announce that Hope Alive’s program committee is nearing the completion of our first formal evaluation of our program services. The program committee has been meeting for weeks with staff, residents, program graduates, and volunteers to conduct interviews and complete questionnaires that were developed to measure our results and determine if we are achieving our mission.

The committee members have dedicated countless hours to finalizing a quality evaluation plan, creating questionnaires, interview questions, and data collection tools, contacting staff, residents and volunteers and scheduling and conducting more than 50 interviews. I am so grateful for the committee’s professional expertise, dedication to this process and commitment to our mission and the leadership of Ingrid Manfredo.

Results are scheduled to be released in August. I’m not expecting an A+ report card, but recognize that the purpose of this process is to identify what’s working and what’s not so we can continue to improve the delivery of our program services to more effectively meet the needs of homeless women and children and empower them with Christian values, dignity and the skills they need to live self-sustaining lives filled with hope and a future.

Don’t forget to let your friends and family know about our $25,000 Challenge Grant from the Ausherman Family Foundation matching dollar for dollar every donation we receive! Help us spread the word and check out our website at ttp:// for more information on this tremendous opportunity to raise critically needed funds to serve a growing number of homeless families in our community! Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How God works

As a Christian ministry, there are two questions we are commonly asked: “Are your religious activities mandatory for residents?” and “Do you serve women of other faiths?” The answers to these questions are “no” and “yes”.

Spiritual activities and church involvement is optional for every mother and child who comes through our doors. Our faith in Christ as Lord and Savior is one of our four core values. It’s because of our foundation of faith in Christ that we serve God’s people in need and embrace them with His life-changing love as the key to change and transformation. We live out our faith daily and love every mother and child with God’s love until they want to know the God who loves them for themselves.

We serve women (and children) of all faiths or no faith at all. A spiritual review is part of our family needs assessment to determine (among many other things) a family’s spiritual background and if the mother has a desire to grow in her faith during her time at Hope Alive. Then she decides what those spiritual goals are for herself and her children.

From an email I received this week from Jody Julian, our Family Ministry Specialist, here’s one example of how this happens.

“I overheard a preschooler speaking to a volunteer as they were doing a puzzle together in our children’s center. The volunteer commented that the man in the puzzle was Jesus and the young child said, ‘I have never met Him before.’ To the volunteer’s reply, ‘You haven’t?’ the child said, ‘No, my mommy has never taken me to see Him before.’”

“The next day I was going over the schedule for next weekend with the mom. She had made changes in her daughter’s schedule in terms of meeting up with a family member so her daughter could go to church. A few hours later she also came to me and told me she was so excited because in our recent clothing donations she found a “church dress” that fit her perfectly and her daughter has never had a church dress. It was also a “coincidence” that there were matching shoes that fit too. This Sunday she plans to talk to the pastor as one of her first identified goals is to get her daughter baptized.”

See how God works? No pressure, no mandatory participation. We remain faithful to our calling, obedient in service, and continue to live out our faith each day as a testimony to the lives we touch and He works in each mother and child’s life as He wills.

Please keep those questions coming and let me know if there’s something in particular you’d like to hear about in my blog. And don’t forget about our $25,000 challenge grant from the Ausherman Family Foundation matching dollar for dollar every donation made to that amount. Help us spread the word! Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Friday, July 16, 2010

Great news!

I have great news! It's no secret that like many other nonprofit organizations, Hope Alive has faced difficult financial challenges for the past two years. We have been open and honest about our financial position while aggressively working to find solutions. Of course, the smartest solution is to increase income while cutting expenses. Since 2008, we've cut our expenses by more than 30% yet maintaining core services while expanding our fundraising initiatives.

We are thrilled to announce two generous grants from our friends at the Ausherman Family Foundation - an immediate $25,000 operating grant and a $25,000 challenge grant that will match every dollar raised up to $25,000! The result? $75,000 in much-needed funding to continue our desperately needed services for homeless women and children in the community! Praise the Lord!

Needless to say, we are thrilled by the Foundation's continued generosity, commitment to our mission, encouragement, and for their creativity in leveraging donor dollars. Please spread the word about this incredible opportunity and help us meet the $25,000 goal as quickly as possible!

God never fails to amaze me in the ways He faithfully provides and answers prayers. Hope Alive is His ministry and vision and we know our future is in His hands.

If you can help with a donation that will be doubled, go to our website and click "donate now" and indicate that it's in response to our "challenge grant". Spread the word! Until next week ...

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ready to serve

Just back from vacation, I returned to Hope Alive on Tuesday refreshed, rested and ready to serve. I thought I'd get a week to ease back into the work of the ministry, but the needs of homeless families in our community abruptly brought me back to reality. Just today, we received calls from four homeless families who are struggling to survive in our community. One mother and her two year old are living in a car, two families are living in a motel, and one mother and her 14 month old are facing eviction. Despite our need to operate below capacity because of our staffing and resource limitations, the needs are too great so we’re starting the intake process for two of these families in emergency situations. From January to June of this year, we’ve seen an alarming 43% increase in requests for services as compared to the same period last year.

At the same time, we are refreshed by the life-change our resident families are experiencing! This month we are celebrating two families’ graduations from our residential program. One family moved on to independent housing last month, but she wanted to wait and share the celebration with the next family that’s graduating this month. Both of these families – along with the other families who have successfully moved from Hope Alive to independent housing – are healthy, whole, and living self-sustaining lives filled with hope and a future. And one of our teen residents just came back from a week at Christian camp as a changed young lady. She wants to go on a mission trip later this year to a third world country ready to serve others who are in much greater need than her family.

We continue to trust God completely to meet the needs of homeless women and their children. Through the power of His life-changing love and the ministry of Hope Alive, life transformation is possible and women and their children are finding hope of a future.

Vacation is wonderful, but I am grateful for the privilege of serving God’s people in need. Thank you for your support and commitment to our mission. Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director