June is the month for commencements! For most this means the closing of one chapter in their lives and signals the beginning of an exciting future.
That is exactly what commencement means for one of the residents in Star of Hope’s New Horizons program. Roderick recently graduated from high school with a 3.0 GPA and is ready to embark on his college career! Here, in his own words, is his testimony of how Star of Hope helped him and his family on this exciting journey:
High school has been an amazing life changing experience for me. It allowed me to feel the transition from my childhood years into adulthood slowly, but surely. I've had multiple distractions and obstacles trying to prevent me from being successful in school, but with the help of GOD, my family, friends, and Star of Hope, I’ve been blessed and stayed on track. Just knowing how proud the people who actually care about me are motivates me to push further, stay positive and stay focused.
Star of Hope allowed me the opportunity to experience my first summer camp and it was awesome. I still volunteer and work with younger kids ever since my camp trip. I've always kept my GPA above a 3.0 and never slacked off when it came to my education.
I've decided to go to Sam Houston State University and major in Law Enforcement since that has been something I knew I would enjoy doing since I was a child. I know that regardless of what may happen; the people who care about me will support me through whatever I decide to do. I am so grateful for that.
There are so many young men my age who did not get the chances GOD has given me. And, just like my mother, I want to give back because we can make a difference in someone’s life. Just like Star of Hope made a difference in ours.
Son of the best momma in the world, Sharon
Star of Hope congratulates all of its graduates and those reading this update! Thank you for helping us end homelessness for Roderick, his family and so many more just like them!
As we celebrate our Mothers this Mother’s Day, I am especially excited about the “NEW LIFE” Program which is now open at Star of Hope for new mothers, ages 18-23, who are expecting a baby and seeking a new life! This wonderful new program comes complete with a safe and clean apartment, great food, and a nurturing and supportive program staff to help each young mom through her pregnancy.
Moms will experience some great counseling and developmental coursework to help them find God’s plan for their life, as the Bible tells us so clearly in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” That’s what Star of Hope is all about!
Do you know a young mom between the ages of 18-23 in need of this program? Visit our website to get more details.
To all the mothers reading this update, all of us at Star of Hope would like to wish you a very special and blessed Mother’s Day. And gentlemen, a reminder . . . Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Don’t forget!
I am excited to announce that New Life is finally up and running. We are currently accepting young ladies from 18-23 years of age entering the exciting journey of motherhood for the first time. But, don’t fret! New Life also welcomes young mothers who are taking this journey a second time around. I am excited to help guide these young ladies towards reaching their greatest potential.
As of now there are three young ladies participating in the New Life Program. Each young lady is excited about the road ahead of them now that they have found a stable and loving environment to call their home. They are also excited about the classes that are offered because not only can they work towards bettering themselves, they are also able to build a stronger relationship with God. The eagerness they have to succeed as a mother and individual is beyond beautiful. With the help of Star of Hope, I have no doubt these young ladies matriculating through the New Life Program will be restored, uplifted, and highly motivated upon exiting the program.
Although the journey through motherhood is longer than 12 weeks, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to help each of these young ladies prepare for a lifetime of greatness that awaits them. I pray that once this chapter in their life has come to an end and they bring new life into the world they remember that John 16:21 says, "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world."
Sherronica Jackson, MSW
Therapeutic Case Manager
Four months ago, before beginning an internship at Star of Hope's Transitional Living Center, my perception of homelessness was of someone standing on a corner holding a sign made of cardboard which states, “Will work for food.” But oh, how my views have changed.
As I stood before a class filled with women who were ready to be a part of the group I was about to facilitate, I noticed that every face had a different story. I knew this because I did several of their intake interviews. Homelessness can happen to anyone, just as mental illness can. All it takes is a serious turn of events in one's life:
- a death in the family
- escaping abusive homes
- lack of income due to unemployment
- a house fire or losing a home due to natural disaster
- substance abuse
My experience at Star of Hope has taught me that there truly is no single mold that homeless people fit into. They come here from different backgrounds and with different reasons for becoming homeless, but they all have one thing in common . . . and that is hope. The belief that tomorrow will be better, if we can bear a hardship today.
Star of Hope is not just about helping homeless people sustain employment and putting a roof over their heads. The Transitional Living Center restores self confidence, enhances self esteem, motivational skills, hopes and aspirations.
Star of Hope Intern
Transitional Living Center for Women & Families
If one has never been homeless you may not understand the important impact the Star of Hope Mission has in someone’s life. You may never experience the overwhelming panic, the knot that forms in the pit of your stomach or the physical pain caused by the fear of being homeless. You may not identify with the feeling of terror that one has when they have no idea where they will sleep that night, the fear of how to feed their children or concern about how to keep their children in school.
Many are blessed in life and never personally experience these terrorizing emotions. Others are blessed because Star of Hope was there to help them through this terrifying time in their life. My volunteer time has been spent in administrative support working for caring and dedicated staff. Each time I'm there, I see the lives of the many people whose lives have been altered. It may look like just a piece of paper that gets filed away, but each represents a life that has been touched and changed by the Star of Hope. The mission depend on volunteers to keep going. If you want to be involved with life changing moments in someone’s life and offer hope and confidence in the future, I encourage you to volunteer. You will gain more than any of the people you serve.
For many reasons people may find themselves in a temporary position in life in which a helping hand can make all the difference in the world. Star of Hope offers people a lifeline to a successful life when the world seems to be against them. They offer food, shelter, training and job placement . . . but most of all they offer hope and confidence in the future.
Deborah L. Stich
Star of Hope Volunteer
I am currently a first year student in the Graduate College of Social Work at University of Houston. Initially I didn’t know what to expect coming to intern at Star of Hope's Transitional Living Center. All I really knew about Star of Hope was that it is a “homeless shelter”. Little did I know that it is so much more.
From the first day I entered the building, I could feel the welcoming spirit of the staff and residents. I expected to see a scene like portrayed on television with beds everywhere, a dirty or unkept building, unprofessional staff, and sack lunches with who knows what in them. That was my little view, but my eyes were widened and my spirits were lifted when I realized how different Star of Hope is from what I expected.
I have been allowed to do intake interviews with clients, I have taught some personal development classes and introduced topics such as self care, stress management and relaxation techniques. I have sat in on the New Hope Recovery Program, I interact and even have lunch with clients in the wonderful cafeteria where there are three hot meals served and not the sack lunches I thought there would be. I have gone to the chapel service and witnessed women graduate from recovery programs.
Overall the intensity of my excitement has grown more and more each day that I am here. I feel so blessed with this opportunity. The Spirit of God is all around this place and it is for anyone who really wants help. Star of Hope helps clients using a non-judgmental and holistic approach. My faith, spiritual outlook and belief in God has been greatly increased and I am constantly reminded that God is there for us all.
There is a sense of peace and God’s constant presence in this atmosphere of kindness, consideration, respect and cheerfulness.
The scripture I would associate with Star of Hope is Mathew 11:28. "Come to me, all ye labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"
Star of Hope Mission Intern
Star of Hope GROWS 53% as We Serve the Homeless of Houston!
Now in our second century, Star of Hope is expanding its services to the homeless of Houston! In the 5 years since 2008, Star of Hope has grown by 53% in the number of homeless men, women and children we serve per day.
Our city-wide street homeless numbers vary from year to year, but more homeless families who are not living directly on the streets of Houston are coming to us each year, needing help. There is so much work to be done!
In 2011, 5,856 homeless families were counted in Houston. Over the past 5 years, the rise in needs of homeless families has been without a doubt, the greatest challenge Star of Hope has faced. We are focusing special attention on better ways to serve these families . . . which we call the “Hidden Homeless” - families and single women in crisis with no home of their own, living with friends and relatives, in their cars, campgrounds and motels.
Please continue to help with us through your prayers, your volunteer service, and your financial gifts as we work to reclaim these precious hearts and lives with the message of Christ’s love and educational support to help them have a successful, independent life! After all, this is OUR CITY • OUR HOME • OUR MISSION!
I have often heard the saying, “You are going into a storm, going through a storm, or coming out of a storm.” The truth is that we really do not like any parts of storms—before, during, or after. As hard as we pray and prepare for storms to leave us alone, we still find ourselves dealing with them in some manner. Since stormy situations are inevitable, let’s take a look at a particular storm to help equip us to navigate stormy situations. Luke 8:22-25 is a good place to start:
"Now it happened, on a certain day that Jesus got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, 'Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.' And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, 'Master, Master, we are perishing!' Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, 'Where is your faith?' And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, 'Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!'"
The disciples were afraid and cried out to Jesus in the mist of the stormy situation, and the Master woke up and calmed the storm and then challenged their faith.
If you or a loved one is experiencing fear in the midst of the stormy situations of homelessness and alcohol or drug addiction, don’t give up! Do as the disciples did when they cried out to Jesus, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Jesus can turn your stormy situations into stories of hope and healing. Jesus will get you to the other side of the pain and suffering just keep the faith in Him! It may seem strange but God is working it out and is with you according to Romans 8:28; 38-39:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (28)."
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (38-39)."
Because we are the hands and feet of Jesus, Star of Hope exists as a shelter of love, hope and healing to help you navigate stormy situation.
Ever turn on the evening news and wish you hadn’t? Nightly reports, packed with violence, tragedy and heartache, leave little hope for anything but a bleak, catastrophic future. That’s why I wish everyone could see the world through the window in my office!
Every day, I have the incredible privilege of working with hundreds of people - from our city, across the state, throughout our nation and around the world - who demonstrate caring through volunteerism. Regardless of the demands and circumstances in their own lives, Star of Hope volunteers are excited about the opportunity to serve the homeless men, women and children God brings through our doors. They just need to know how to help.
When I see the immense love and compassion, talent and enthusiasm God has placed in Star of Hope volunteers, it is hard to be anything but hopeful about the future! Not just pretty words, but truly love-in-action, people of all ages and backgrounds who are called to serve, ready to help at a moment’s notice. Then, to watch miracles happen as God uses these volunteers to touch hearts and forever, eternally, change the lives of others is the most amazing thing!
So spend the day with me and look out of my window. God’s people are busy reaching out to help those in need. Your heart will rejoice!
Each year, thousands of folks from every walk of life come to one of Star of Hope's six locations and volunteer their time and talents. They come from around Houston, the United States and even from foreign countries. They do this to serve our guests who are recovering from homelessness and seeking a new life! In so doing, they are fulfilling the Bible's teachings that: "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace..." (I Peter 4:10) and that "by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the Lord Jesus himself who said: 'It is more blessed to give, than to receive'" (Acts 20:35 NIV).
Our volunteers come from local churches, businesses, corporations, universities, public and private schools, other non-profits and individual families. Some conduct donation drives for food, clothing and hygiene items needed by the men, women, and children in Star of Hope's care, and bring those collected items to us. Just last year, 7,500 volunteers donated more than 55,000 hours of their time! This saves Star of Hope the equivalent of 28 full-time paid Staff members, and millions of dollars of supplies needed as we serve 1,100 - 1,200 people per day.
If you are looking for a SPECIAL PLACE to share God's love, and be the "hands and feet of Jesus" to someone who is lost and alone, find a volunteer opportunity at Star of Hope that interests you. Complete the volunteer interest form and plan a time to join us! I guarantee you that your service will not only be a blessing to our guests, but also to you!
The time I spend at Star of Hope is the highlight of my week. Being in the midst of a job search, it can be easy to become focused on me and on my problems.
Being at Star of Hope each week helps me stay focused on God, and to experience the joy of seeing first-hand His grace at work. Through His people, Star of Hope is meeting the very real needs of Houston’s homeless. It is so wonderful to be even a small part of the big work God is doing here. When I’m here I know God is smiling.
My current assignment is working at Hope Center on Ardmore Street to perform various administrative tasks, data entry and other opportunities to support the important work done by the Volunteer Services Department. The people I work with are appreciative, kind and welcoming.
It’s heartwarming to be around like-minded people serving others -- unapologetically in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace, in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1:29
These past few Sunday evenings at home we have been watching the “The Bible” TV series on the History Channel. I must say, it has been a profound experience.
Watching the expertly portrayed Biblical accounts of the history of mankind, through the retelling of countless Old and New Testament Biblical passages, has given me a new perspective on our world and man’s relationship with God. The series continues for two more weeks, on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday evenings.
The most powerful moment for me this past Sunday night, and perhaps over the entire series, was when John the Baptist proclaimed: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” That’s it! That’s the pivot point in ALL of history. Jesus is THE answer to the misery, evil, aggression, abuse and hatred that fills our world today, and has filled our world since man disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, and sin was born into our lives.
Star of Hope celebrates Easter! Because here, we see broken and desperate lives every day, void of God. Thousands come to us who are at rock bottom and literally have no one else to turn to for help. We are their last resort. Their lives are filled with all of life’s worst…the same evils of history we’ve seen displayed so beautifully through “The Bible” series, and that we see today in our own country and throughout our world. Yet at Star of Hope every day, we can say: “Behold the Lamb of God” and then see the love of Jesus light up those lives, one by one, and redeem and heal and bring them back to life!
Thank you Heavenly Father for giving us your Son, and thank you Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for me…for each one who reads this blog…and for each homeless person or family who finds their way here to Star of Hope. Jesus is the Star, for the homeless and for all of us!
As we experience this Holy Week that is ahead, let’s truly walk it in reverence and introspection, then celebrate the NEW LIFE we have in Christ’s gift to us and to the world...as we behold Him!
As I search for words to describe today’s experience with the ladies at Star of Hope’s Transitional Living Center… I cannot help but be humbled and count it a privilege that the ladies would allow me to be a part of their transition from unemployed and homeless to gainfully employed and self-sufficient.
Career Coffee Chat began today with six ladies in attendance. One lady announced a recent offer of employment by a local area hospital after being unemployed for two years. Another young lady announced the potential of an offer resulting from a successful interview from an area hotel. There were many stories shared from each lady in attendance about their homelessness, their struggle through homelessness, and their hope and faith to come out of homelessness. I was most impressed with each woman’s strength because if you met them anywhere else, unless they shared, you would not know they are homeless.
Career Coffee Chat is an informal job club at Star of Hope that consists of individuals helping each other through transition by networking, exchanging and sharing employment opportunities while developing professionally through various job seeker related discussions.
If you are an employer interested in becoming a part of this new group by offering your time to share with this group valuable information to help them in their quest for employment, please send me an email: email@example.com.
In my last blog entry, I shared a modern day video of Jesus' parable of The Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37 with you. Over 3,000 have watched this moving video in just the past 10 days. If you've missed seeing it, watch it now.
Today, I would like tell you about Irene, because her story reminds me of how you and I as modern day "Good Samaritans" helped her find new life from her time of despair! An ongoing sickness robbed Irene of her health and security, and she subsequently lost her job. She lost everything, and felt hopeless and alone. She literally had no one to turn to for help.
Like the man in the parable who was left battered and broken on the side of the road by robbers, Irene was helpless and alone. But together, we were there, and Irene's needs were met! Today, she is back on her feet and she is so grateful, thanks to the services she received at the Star of Hope.
Irene wants to say "Thank You!" for your help.
You can also visit our website to read more about Irene.
Join OUR MISSION today and help end homelessness in Houston, one individual, one family at a time!
Working at Star of Hope with individuals to secure employment, I often hear, “I have been out of work and I cannot find a job no matter how hard I try.” And often, residents try hard looking for work unsuccessfully because they are looking for work the way they are used to. i.e., Internet.
Qualifications Versus Job Duties:
Looking for a job from the employer perspective, involves more than just speaking about what you like or do well. It means you explain how your skills and experience meet the employer’s need. Simply stating your job responsibilities is not good enough. "The key is to take a simple job duty and expand it to match the [job posting] with quantitative evidence of accomplishments…." More helpful advice>>>
At the Star of Hope Mission miracles are happening every day and we get to see the metamorphosis in the lives our residents first hand. It brings me pure joy to help someone discover what they enjoy doing vocationally in addition to helping them market their best selves to employers in order to achieve gainful employment.
Now that I have the desire to think about the ways and thoughts of God, I can consider the things that I want. Star of Hope greatly helped me to become aware of the things that I should ask for and want in life.
As I replay the tape of my life I found that I have often wanted those things that were self- gratifying. Some examples are the cars, clothes, houses and other things that I thought were evidences to show that I was successful. None of these things fully satisfied my insatiable wants and desires. It was like climbing a mountain where I would continually lose my footing, roll back down the hill and I could never reach the top. 1 Corinthians 8:2 states, “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.”
On the other side of the coin, there were things that I did not want or knew that I needed, but found that I actually wanted or needed them. Case in point is the knowledge of how to live and what I should be living for. I thought I would conquer the world but later found that I was conquered by my worldly passion. My life was not directed by the Word of God which I thought I did not need because after all, I had graduated from college and studied biology, sociology, philosophy, history, accounting, English, etc. I was ready for the world.
Now that I think about it, the knowledge that I obtained was not from the Bible, but was from the world. I did not know what God expected from me or what I should expect from Him. This realization really hit home when I read Hosea 4:6 which states, “My people are destroyed for their lack of knowledge.” I’m sure that the knowledge that I learned in school is beneficial and could have been used to glorify God, rather than myself. I did not use it to bring glory to God. I only thought about myself and how I could climb the ladder of success while all the time missing what God had planned for me because of my lack of knowledge of Him.
While at the Star of Hope, I had the chance to increase my knowledge of the Word of God. My main reason and purpose for coming to Star of Hope was to work the program and learn the Word which I had thought that I did not need. Star of Hope helped me to know what I finally want and that is Jesus.
The annual Star of Hope banquet blessed many tremendously. And, it made me realize all over again, how important our work is together!
Almost 2,000 of us gathered once again the evening of February 8, for an inspiring and informative time together as we focused on the homeless men, women and children of Houston. And, we dedicated the evening to ending their homelessness!
Star of Hope works to end homelessness, one individual, one family at a time, by helping those who come our way through their crisis and onward toward successful, independent living once again. That is Our Mission.
During the evening, I shared “The Good Samaritan” parable with those gathered, found in the Gospel of Luke 10:25-37. This is a powerful scripture where Jesus describes how we are to help the least and lost in our community.
Take a look at this powerful video we shared at the banquet. And be a “Good Samaritan” TODAY, with all of us at Star of Hope. . .through your financial gifts or volunteer time!
Each February, thousands of Houstonians gather for dinner and an evening of inspiration and education, in support of the homeless of our city. It’s the Star of Hope Annual Banquet, and it’s next Friday, February 8th at 7pm in the Lanier Ballroom at the Hilton Americas downtown. If you aren’t already planning to attend, we’d love for you to join us! Seating is limited, so register today.
As a quick preview, we will be celebrating “Everything You Do” in serving Houston’s homeless men, women and families… and how together our community makes a significant impact in helping those in great need put their lives back together after experiencing homelessness. You’ll learn more about all the exciting ministries of the Star of Hope, which has been serving Houston’s homeless since 1907. And you’ll be treated to a great meal, powerful testimonies from Clients of Star of Hope and a special musical performance by Steven Curtis Chapman. You’ll be amazed at how much our community is doing together for our neighbors in great need.
Over the past 5 years Star of Hope has grown in the number of people we serve each day by 53%. Now, we serve 1,150 men, women and children daily. You’ve made this possible by your financial gifts, volunteer service with us, donations drives and participation in special events.
Thank you for being a part of serving our neighbors in need! And if you’re able, come and celebrate with us next Friday night.
The New Year is HERE! And as we look at this world, we see uncertain times all around us. Nation against nation, people against people, division among Americans, government financial crises from the European Union to our own Washington, D.C., violence in our society, unemployment for many…and on and on it goes.
But here at Star of Hope, God’s miracles are abounding in the hearts and lives of so many in our community today! Decisions to follow Christ are at amazing levels, families are being reunited, and freedom from addictions of every kind is achieved daily. What an amazing year 2012 was for Star of Hope, with rich blessings from our Lord in every area of our ministry together.
As we face 2013, the only One we can turn to with our full trust and confidence is God. As we enter this new year, let’s all pray earnestly for God to forgive our sins, heal our land and use us in a powerful way here at Star of Hope, to see an end to homelessness for many in our community in 2013. And let’s ask Him to make this a year where the results of His great work are profound!
Proverbs 3:5-6, one of my lifetime favorites, tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Let’s claim this scripture daily in 2013, rest in the knowledge that He has directed us to help those in need, and be confident that He will use us to accomplish His purposes!
Blessings to you and your family in 2013. Please keep all of us at Star of Hope in your prayers. And, we want to celebrate in person with YOU! Join us on Friday, February 8, 2013 for our Annual Banquet: Everything You Do!