United We Serve As Chapters
As National Director of Chapter Relations for HOPE worldwide, I have been able to experience first hand the outpouring of gratitude from the volunteers regarding the new U.S. Chapter model. Volunteers everywhere are loving the idea that the power to change a life and to serve with HOPE worldwide is in their hands and hearts once again. That HOPE worldwide is connecting the spirit of service and Christian value of service to others. As we look forward to September, when our Season of Service program for 2009-2010 kicks off, I personally have great joy in my own heart knowing that on days like September 11th, Christmas and MLK Day of Service, volunteers from 80 Chapters and counting will be out in their communities, reaching out to the poor in their own backyards, proudly displaying God's pure love. What a unifying thought!
Throughout this summer, HOPE worldwide Chapters have been actively engaged in service nationwide, responding to President Obama's "United We Serve" campaign. As the nation's program closes out in September, we are now reflecting on different ways volunteers have reached out during the last few months.
Recent Chapter Events:
The HOPE worldwide Detroit Chapter was able to serve their community through tearing down and clearing city lots were that previously occupied by crack houses. Volunteers made space for new buildings, housing and gardens, refreshing a city that is burdened year in and year out by serious drug problems and homelessness issues.
The HOPE worldwide Northern Virginia Chapter contributed 40 backpacks to Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) and 3 backpacks to a family in need who had visited the volunteers' church. As usual, the response from the volunteers in the Northern Virginia Church to the need was quite impressive!
The Colorado Springs Chapter hosted a weekend of fun-filled events in July, including a "Casino Night" on a Saturday and a "Foster Shower" on a Sunday. Both events were held at a church building and went to support their new program, Hope Packs. Through Hope Packs, the Chapter in Colorado Springs focuses on providing toys and comforting items wrapped in a nice new backpack to local foster care children. These packs are then delivered to children as they arrive at their new foster homes, hopefully giving comfort in an uncertain time. And what was the admission into the Casino Night and Foster Shower? Items off the Chapter's Target and Walmart registry to form the Hope Packs. Such an inventive idea! The Chapter in Colorado Springs is proud to say, over that weekend $1100 was raised and hundreds of items for the backpacks were given.
The Chicago Chapter held a Backpack Drive for one local Chicago school in order to provide back-to-school supplies to children who desperately needed it from the Horacio May Academy. Horatio May is one of the six Chicago Public Schools that the Chicago Chapter is partnering with for this year's Season of Service program and their Saturday morning tutoring programs. The May Academy is located in the South Austin community on Chicago's West side, where 95% of the families/students served are low income. The HOPE worldwide volunteers from Chicago were happy to provide a little bit of encouragement to these children as they start their new school year!
As we are planning for this upcoming year's Season of Service, the U.S. team at HOPE worldwide's National Office is proud to say that the number of Chapters around the country has nearly doubled from October 2007 to now. That alone says so much about the spirit of the volunteers and their love for HOPE worldwide. We are hoping to reach 90 Chapters by the end of 2009! So again, we put out the call... start a Chapter, put on a t-shirt & volunteer.
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