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Give Care Share: Hope House




Hope House first began as a way to care for the people of downtown area of Bowling Green, and those who started the effort wanted to go about their efforts in a drastically different way.

“Our heartbeat was and is the desire to be a development center where people could gain the tools and resources needed to get out of poverty, rather than stay stuck in it,” Hope House Executive Director Bryan Lewis says. “What we have learned over time is that we must look deeper into the neighborhood and recognize that every person has gifts, talents and assets that God will use to help change the downtown neighborhood.”

Hope House began in 2009 with the community development center in the heart of Bowling Green to serve those experiencing homelessness, drug addiction, chronic and generational poverty and any number of other trials. The organization works to implement a number of programs to help break the systemic cycle of poverty and lack of education. Hope House programs include:

• The Jobs for Life Program – A Biblical job training program that aims to prepare individuals for work. Those in the course gain valuable career skills by interacting with local business leaders.

• Six Day a Week Ready to Work Shuttle – A transportation service that allows individuals to get to and from work at affordable costs.

• Faith and Finances – A course that teaches key principles of managing money.

• Advocacy Program – A program designed to help individuals to work through different types of difficult situations and produce a plan to help them overcome the obstacles they are facing.

• Program Living for Men – A 12 month, Christ-centered residential program that serves men who have experienced addictions, incarceration and homelessness. This program is growing from two to three properties. A 12 month women’s program facility is also in the works with a projected groundbreaking in 2018.

• Driver Ready Program – A program that helps graduates of the various Hope House efforts to work towards purchasing cars donated to Hope House at affordable, income-based payments.

• Three Social Enterprise efforts:

Community Store – A thrift store that serves the downtown and Warren County area. The store sells a number of items including clothing, children’s items and home goods. The store is open to the public.
Reclaimed – An upscale thrift and furniture on Bowling Green’s Fountain Square at 426 East Main.

New Creations Furniture Co. – Custom furniture made by the men that participate in the 12 month program living.

Hope House is funded by local churches, businesses, individuals and private grant writing. The group also hosts large fundraisers each year including Cooking for Hope, a dinner fundraiser held this past April, Swing for Hope, a golf scramble set for September 17 at Indian Hills Country Club and Hit for Hope, a Wiffle Ball tournament and home run derby set for later this year. The organization also continuously collects items for their community store and food pantry.

Bryan Lewis has been involved with Hope House since its beginning and has been Executive Director since 2009. He loves the work he does with the staff and volunteers, as well as people involved in the programs at Hope House.

“I love that I get to partner with people rather than do for them,” Lewis says. “It is so rewarding to be a part of an organization that strives to not be an enabler or increase someone’s poverty by doing something for them that they can do themselves.”

Lewis says that the partnership with local churches, business leaders and individuals is essential to the success of Hope House and their help brings about real, tangible change in people’s lives.

“I love getting to hear the stories of life change from our graduates of Jobs for Life, Faith and Finances and Program Living,” Lewis says. “Our staff and volunteers get to be a part of stories of redemption each day and see families being restored through Jesus healing those relationships through his death, burial and resurrection.”

Hope House is looking for individuals who are interested in volunteering with the organization. Lewis says the only requirements for volunteering with Hope House is a willingness to learn and walk through poverty with those going through all the programs.

To find out more about Hope House, go to hopehousebg.com. If you would like to set up a tour, volunteer or schedule a date for Bryan Lewis to speak to your group or organization about Hope House, email Casey Rice at [email protected].

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