I have become increasingly aware that there are many of you out there that don’t really know what we are trying to accomplish here at a.k.a. HOPE. Through several conversations and emails I’ve fielded in the recent past, I’m realizing that we have done a poor job of communicating to both you our supporters and the general public. And as you may or may not know, if our closest supporters can’t articulate and connect with the vision for our program, they’re not going to be willing to advocate on our behalf. That is exactly the heart that is going into this new blog - one I fully intend on regularly maintaining.
In my defense, there have been many obstacles and variables which have contributed to the confusion and ambiguity. We have been going through a major transition here at a.k.a. HOPE, and we needed some time to figure out exactly what that meant for us, for the kids, and the direction we would be taking it. So many things were up in the air. Luckily, we have been at it for several months now, and we have a much clearer path. All that to say…
We are SO excited to tell you about all the things that we have been up to!
For the first couple of years of its existence, a.k.a. HOPE operated as a school. We worked with children directly off of the street, found willing “guardians” to act as foster homes within the slum community in which they lived, and brought them to our homemade school each weekday. That was the extent of our impact. It was great and a huge improvement for each of children we reached, but it was still limited. The kids lived in a very dangerous area, often finding themselves in abusive and oppressive situations. It was with this in mind when we decided to take a massive step of faith and expand our vision.
More than a school, these kids needed:
- A place to call home
- A place which afforded them a bed and peace of mind
- A place that cared for their mental and physical health
- A place to run and to play and to just be kids
- A place where all the aspects of “family” could fully be realized
So this is what we did - along with making sure the kids still got their much needed education.
At the beginning of 2016, we transported 60+ kids and a handful of “mamas” to a brand new campus, big enough to accomplish all of our goals of creating a family. And let me tell you, it has been equal parts challenging and rewarding. We have experienced heartbreak, and we have felt pure joy. But through it all, we have seen our little group of kiddos flourish. Almost beyond recognition. Top of their class. Transformed. Thriving members of their new family.
So thank you. Thank you for the part you’ve played and will continue to play. Thank you for being patient and understanding with us as we get our stuff together. And thank you for your advocacy moving forward because it is absolutely true that we simply can not do this without YOU!
Keep an eye out each week as we strive to open a line of communication through our blog. And please feel free to interact below in our comment section. We would love to hear what you think.
Chris Skiera-Vaughn Founder & Director a.k.a. HOPE