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!
Renegade is a missional community group that belongs to the church Resurrection Houston. This missional community group is located at University of Houston, and we recently had the pleasure to volunteer at the Star of Hope. We helped serve some of the residents there.
The experience was one that was unforgettable. We had an amazing time serving and interacting with the residents as well as helping Gloria out in the kitchen to prepare the food. It was a lot of fun and we definitely look forward to volunteering with Star of Hope again in the near future. Thank you Star of Hope for allowing us the opportunity to volunteer!
Star of Hope Volunteer
Volunteering with MADE, especially at Star of Hope, has been a wonderful experience for me and for my family. It has put into perspective that all of us need help, of some kind, at some point in our lives and that we should all be willing to help each other, in whatever small way we can.
We started out thinking we were going to Star of Hope to help others, but soon realized that we were being blessed by the experience and probably received more from volunteering then the people we served. Seeing and interacting with the families, especially the precious children, at Star of Hope, always brings a smile to our faces and joy to our hearts. Volunteering helps bring a better perspective on ourselves and other people.
Parent of MADE member
Star of Hope Volunteer
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
In the few weeks that I’ve been working for Star of Hope Mission, I’ve been blown away every time I encounter our volunteers. I met a wonderful man with muscular dystrophy. He has so much love for Jesus and his mission for the brokenness of Houston that it could fill the oceans. With the help of others, he did everything in his power to obtain his goals and requirements needed to volunteer.
I met a woman who lost her job and house. Through the stressful and difficult time she said that all she wanted to do is serve others. These two, and countless other volunteers, embody the idea of selfless serving. This is why I love Star of Hope. It is full of volunteers and employees that place others far before themselves.
Timothy Keller puts it beautifully in The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness!
“C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity makes a brilliant observation about gospel-humility.... If we were to meet a truly humble person, Lewis says, we would never come away from meeting them thinking they were humble. They would not be always telling us they were a nobody (because a person who keeps saying they are a nobody is actually a self-obsessed person). The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as, ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that make me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness.... A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a gospel-humble person. The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes. It just works. It does not draw attention to itself. The toes just work; the ego just works. Neither draws attention to itself.”
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
Brownie Troop 9668 split into two groups to provide enough snacks to feed about 450 residents at two Star of Hope facilities. They brought with them several car loads of gently used clothing, linens, books, toys and stuffed animals as well as some toiletries for the residents.
While many of these girls are accustomed to gathering items to donate or participating in fun activities that benefit charities, the hands-on service aspect of this experience and getting to actually see and meet the people who are having hard times really brought it to life in a way that nothing else has done.
They went home with a whole new enthusiasm for giving their time and their resources to others. It opened their eyes to the hardships around them and the blessings in their own lives. This was a great opportunity for them to demonstrate the Brownie mission of serving others and they had a fantastic time doing it. They realized just how good it feels to make themselves useful by doing something nice for someone else and are eager to go back and do it again! Thank you to Star of Hope for your wonderful works!
Star of Hope Volunteer
I knew for a long time that I have always wanted to do volunteer. It didn't matter the form of it, just knew it was in my heart. Two months ago, God placed in my heart to Google "shelter for the homeless in Houston." It's exactly what I did. The first shelter that popped up was Start Of Hope. I called and scheduled a day and time. Not only did God use me that day, but he used me by inviting 2 girlfriends that never have done volunteer work. I knew God smiled down on me that day, and ever since I never fail to invite some one to any event that gives glory to God!
Star of Hope Volunteer
Our Red Hat Society Chapter Divas With Hattitude began volunteering in November of 2011 and returned in 2012. We volunteer one Saturday every November at the Star of Hope Women and Family Emergency Shelter.
We start our day by celebrating our chapter members November birthdays at a restaurant, and conclude with dinner service at the center. We help prepare and serve the meals to the many residents residing there. We also collect
toiletries items for the families and hold a toy drive every December to donate to the children residing at Star of Hope.
I personally know some people who have been helped by Star of Hope and quickly refer anyone standing in the need. We look forward to our service day this year. Hats off to all of the employees who supply a service to the many in need. See you November and December 2013. God Bless!
Star of Hope Volunteer
My husband and I have been financial supporters of Star of Hope for many years. I have always been impressed with the strong Christian work that Star of Hope has provided to thousands of people in need.
Once our youngest child received her driver’s license (lots of prayers said!), I felt it was time to donate my time to Star of Hope as well. I went to a volunteer orientation class and waited for them to find the right fit for me.
I received a call that the Women and Family Emergency Shelter needed a toy store volunteer to help organize and hand out toys to new arrivals at the shelter. I was hooked immediately and have been serving there for nearly four years.
I’ve never considered myself a “fund raiser” type, but I decided that joining the Trees of Hope Guild would give me an opportunity to find out more about the organization. Having attended several Trees of Hope fundraisers in the past, I thought it would be a good idea to devote more of my time and finances to an organization that is so dear to my heart.
I can’t wait to see what the coming year brings!
Star of Hope Mission Volunteer
Trees of Hope Guild Member
Volunteering for Star of Hope has been a life altering experience for my whole family. We look forward to our time together and being able to serve the families at Star of Hope. It also has helped my children understand the importance of helping those that are less fortunate. Volunteering teaches kids to appreciate what they have and to realize that material things are not as important as love and having your family together. It is an honor to serve and we hope to continue to do our part for as long as we are able.
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." -- 1 Peter 4:10
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
I’ve been volunteering full-time at Star of Hope for over seven months now with a program called Mission Year. As we started working and learning the ins and outs of the Transitional Living Center, I never expected to be teaching one of the classes I observed during my first week here. But that’s exactly what happened.
Earlier today the other two Mission Year girls (Abigail and Carole) and I taught the personal development class about environmentalism. This is something that has been built into Mission Year’s program, and therefore placed on our hearts in our time with the program. Mission Year believes in living simply. That means having the mind-set of only buying/using what you need. Without the distractions of “stuff” you are left with more time for loving God and loving people; our ultimate call as Christians.
In teaching this class we hoped to open up the eyes of these women to what they can do to recycle and conserve, what caring for the world means in relation their faith, and simply open their eyes to the condition of America’s consumerism. We learned about the majority of these issues through a book called Serve God, Save the Planet that we study as a part of Mission Year.
This was definitely a new experience for me. Not only teaching a class, but teaching it to women who are up to forty years my elder! Most of the time I feel like the women I’m serving are speaking truth into my life more than I am into theirs.
They are continually thanking us for our time here and for the way we genuinely care about helping them. Every time someone thanks me all I can think is what a great example they are being and how I should go thank someone myself. I’m realizing more and more that Star of Hope has helped foster me as I’m stepping out into being an adult. The experiences I’ve gained in the past seven months don’t have price tags on them, they’re gifts from God.
Mission Year Student
Star of Hope’s Extended Services Department appreciates volunteers! The New Horizons and New Haven programs, as well as our Outreach program, offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities. And, we are so excited to have volunteers serving in the following capacities:
- Blessed Breakfast: Groups of 5-10 volunteers come and serve a continental-type breakfast to the clients of our New Haven program and offer a time of positive social interaction and bible study as well.
- Experiential Moments: Volunteers serve to bring NEW and interesting topics to the clients of New Horizons and New Haven — family game day/night; catered holiday meals; choir presentations; self-awareness classes; creative writing/journaling; sponsors for those in recovery; encouragement and more!
- Educational Opportunities: Volunteers facilitate classes in budgeting; home management; life-management; tax preparation; nutrition; homework help for school children…the list is endless.
- Outreach/Neighborhood Community Events: Festivals and fairs across the city to raise awareness of Star of Hope services, offer community support and bring the Gospel to those living in low-income areas of the city. Many of our program clients and Alumni attend the Outreach and Community events as well.
Our staff think volunteers are SO important that we created DEPARTMENTAL goal for 2013 that reads:
“Extended Services staff will work closely with Volunteer Services to utilize volunteers to the fullest capacity; assisting clients and consumers to build/improve life skills and job skills for successful independent living.”
We have so many more ideas and ways volunteers can serve our clients. Volunteers MEAN SO MUCH to our clients. . .and, to the staff serving the clients. We cannot do all that we do without YOUR help.
What are you waiting for? Volunteer today!!
Every Wednesday morning at Star of Hope’s Donation and Distribution Center is a scavenger hunt of sorts. With a list of specific client clothing needs in hand, Abigail, Kristin and I sift through boxes and bags of donations, searching for the right garments. We make a game out of locating and capturing these items - size 18 pants, women's socks, dresses with sleeves, any brand new business professional clothes. The needs change weekly, but we are always on the lookout.
Apparently, God is on the lookout for our clients as well. We ask Him to provide clothing articles according to the specific needs of each week. With a little searching on our part, He often provides what we need.
Three weeks ago, Ms. Rochelle informed us that we needed plus size clothing. After an hour of sifting, we finally discovered about fifteen plus size blouses and pants, waiting for our searching hands to pluck them from the depths of the big cardboard box. I felt like God was reminding me through this plethora of blouses that He pays attention to the needs of His children.
The next week, we needed pre-teen boys’ clothes, especially pants. We prayed God would meet that need too. We returned back to the Transitional Living Center clothing room with at least ten pairs of size 8-12 boys pants and some shirts too!
One client's appointment in the clothing room especially reminds me of God's provision for His kids. I had undertaken a massive organization project as she took her time selecting clothes. Bags of clothes were scattered on the floor, waiting for their contents to be discovered and sorted. Towards the end of her appointment, the client informed me that she could not find any undergarments her size. While finagling to open a finicky, tied plastic bag, I asked her what her size is. We could search one more time in our bins, then write the item on our list of items to look for at the warehouse. As she told me her size, I conquered the tricky grocery bag knot. To my surprise, this bag contained over fifteen undergarments - each exactly her size!
Mission Year Student
In February, Dr. Rob Dickinson, Medical Director of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Executive Health, Wellness, and Corporate Medicine Programs, joined the Star of Hope volunteer team. We quickly recruited Dr. Dickinson to work with the ladies in our New Haven program. These are women who cope with mental illness and with the supportive services provided by New Haven, are living independently. Each month, the ladies now have the opportunity for a “Health Chat with Dr. Rob.” The following are excerpts, shared by permission, from emails Dr. Rob sent to Star of Hope staff after those chat sessions. In the coming weeks, Dr. Rob will share his thoughts through his own guest blogs.
Monday, February 25, 2013: We have completed the first two sessions and have been able to provide some useful information to the women who attended. I have been fielding many mental health related questions as well as some such as, "What's this rash?" All are welcome. As I had expected, this really is a lot of fun for me and I appreciate the opportunity to serve your clients.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013: We had a good turnout at Perry last time with a lot of great questions. We almost ran out of chairs! Many brought their meds for review and the discussion was lively. I continue to be humbled by the multiple problems these women have battled in their lives. If you ever had any doubt that Star of Hope makes a difference, you can lay that worry aside. I see the changes in your clients at every session. As they regain their dignity and self-reliance in a safe environment, they are able to manage their mental health issues much more effectively. I'm a pretty happy guy naturally, but I always leave our sessions happier than when I went in. And grateful for the opportunity.
My favorite saying: "Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God" Thank you, Dr. Rob, for helping our New Haven clients experience the presence of God through joyful living and improved health!
When I see a homeless person on the street I often think, there but for the grace of God go I. When I think of Star of Hope, I am reminded of the old adage that says “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you give him a fishing pole, you feed him for a lifetime.”
The programs offered at Star of Hope that I have learned about in my four years of volunteering are comprehensive in scope, helping entire families get back on their feet, learn new professional and life skills, support their children in after school care and tutoring while the parents work or seek employment.
Star of Hope’s success stories of teens who were residents at the Transitional Living Center being accepted to college, mothers who are learning how to avoid abusive relationships, substance abuse counseling, psychological and spiritual support all reinforce for me that Star of Hope is providing fishing poles and not just fish.
Breaking the cycle of homelessness requires the physical, emotional, spiritual and academic wrap around support that Star of Hope provides for these families. This Mission treats clients with dignity and respect. Star of Hope talks the talk and walks the walk.
Meeting the mothers and children at the Mothers’ Day Trees of Hope event and the Back to School Shoe Party has been very inspiring to me because these children are engaged and smiling, in spite of their family circumstances. You can tell that they feel safe in the loving community of Star of Hope. The employees of Star of Hope are warm and enthusiastic as they engage with the kids and volunteers.
I always come away feeling hopeful rather than hopeless about the future for the families I meet at Star of Hope.
Trees of Hope Board and Guild Member
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!
Star of Hope is my Mission because we should help those in need by providing them with shelter, food, water and the tools to succeed. Star of Hope contributes towards helping those in need by providing them with all of these basic things and so much more. It is a great joy being able to contribute towards the mission of Star of Hope.
It’s a beautiful feeling to see a child jump with joy when they are given a plate of food, or the gratitude clients show when I serve at the shelter. These are the moments that keep me coming back weekend after weekend to serve breakfast, lunch or dinner.
My greatest reward in life is knowing that through Star of Hope I am able to make a difference in other people’s lives and show them they are cared for by our community.
Juan Antonio Sorto
Star of Hope Mission Volunteer