There are more than 100 North American Chapters of HOPE worldwide. In addition to Saturday Academy, one of our signature programs in many cities across the US, Chapter programs include serving foster children and their families, feeding and caring for the homeless, empowering youth service through Hope Scouts, lending a hand to beautify communities and mobilizing volunteer teams on designated days of service to help meet local needs. Here’s a moving story of a mother and her children from Columbia, South Carolina in her own words.
As a single parent juggling several jobs and my own education to better my family’s financial situation, I often felt like the only person invested in my children’s future. If it wasn’t for the mentoring and educational support of HOPE worldwide’s Saturday Academy, I don’t know where my family would be today. That was about eight years ago. It was then I realized… I wasn’t alone!
The volunteers really cared about all the children. In turn, my daughters, Kassidy and Kala, wanted to learn. Every week they were really, really eager to go to Saturday Academy. There aren’t too many children that want to sacrifice a Saturday to go to a place to learn!
They benefited so much from their time at Saturday Academy. Scholastically, they learned new approaches to problem-solving in mathematics and other subjects. When I checked their homework, it was almost always 90-95% correct. In addition, Kala suffered from severe self-esteem issues after being bullied repeatedly at school. The HOPE worldwide volunteers reassured her that she is a unique and beautiful person made in the image of God. In fact, Kassidy and Kala’s school teachers credited Saturday Academy with both girls’ increased self-confidence and strong academic performance.
Kassidy graduated from high school this spring with a 3.6 GPA and is looking forward to college. Kala will soon complete her Associate’s degree in Science and has earned two scholarships to attend the University of South Carolina. There she plans to follow her dream of becoming a doctor. I even returned to school and earned my Bachelor’s degree; now I’m pursuing a dual Master’s in health and business administration!
Even after my children graduated from the program, I told the volunteers to call me anytime if I could be of help. I enjoy giving back. I am beyond grateful for the ways they helped my children learn and encouraged me as a parent to become stronger and build skills where I was weak.
HOPE worldwide taught me that even when it seems like all is lost…there is still hope.Leif A. Johnson
Columbia, South Carolina