Hope House Kicks Off New Trained Volunteer Program

On June 1 the Hope House Foundation began a new trained volunteer program called RAYS of Hope, an acronym for (Resident Advisors at Your Service). The program is under the direction of Val Daye, their newly hired program director for Hope House. Beginning in March, Daye branded, organized, recruited, trained and scheduled the 60 community volunteers from faith-based congregations and organizations in the Lake Norman area who are now monitoring the facility under Daye’s direction.

Established in 2004, Hope House Foundation provides a comfortable home environment and support services for single unaccompanied women or women with children (boys up to 8 years of age only) who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in the Lake Norman area where there is not such facility. With 12 beds in a pleasant congregate living environment, Hope House encourages transformative life choices and helps women from various backgrounds, experiences, age groups and from all walks of life who have no other network of support for success.

“Beginning last winter, The Salvation Army and Hope House had a collaborative agreement to operate and staff the house to full capacity for the winter months with homeless women and children,” explained Hope House founder and chair, Lee Beth Lindquist, MD. During this time, our foundation provided the house and its upkeep for the residents that were referred and supervised by The Salvation Army.”

Knowing that The Salvation Army would be leaving May 31, Hope House’s board of directors took a proactive approach in early spring and established an innovative volunteer model program through Daye’s leadership that was launched within three months. On June 1, a smooth transition for staff and residents was accomplished by the two non-profits who had worked together in close harmony for the past six months.

“The cost of staffing Hope House 24/7 is daunting with paid employees,” stated Lindquist. “We are required to have full-time monitoring for our insurance coverage. The RAYS Program is estimated to save the Hope House Foundation about $86,000 per year by recruiting and training community volunteers.”

After an extensive renovation that lasted three years and was supported by Lake Norman volunteers, the 4,000 square foot residence on four acres of land transformed into a friendly home-environment for the women and children who hold the promise of transforming their lives while at Hope House benefiting from the support and services available to them.

Hope House opened with its first resident in August 2009 with the help of collaborative partners – Ada Jenkins Center and Davidson Housing Coalition. With these collaborative partners and others, Hope House accepts referrals from professional case managers and social workers as well as other organizations that make referrals to Hope House knowing that the woman can exit this transitional home within six months.

According to Daye, “We have recruited outstanding, responsible women, age 21 or older, primarily from the faith-based community who are volunteering their time to spend with the residents on specific days and times, providing general support, safety and guidance as well as see to it that the Hope House’s rules and regulations are properly observed.”

“It’s been so easy to find women volunteers in the Lake Norman area who have a heart for serving others with the ability to provide motivation, inspiration, and “hope” to those who greatly need it,” continued Daye.

Volunteers from the following churches that are part of the RAYS Program to date are: Ardent Faith, Faith Life, First Baptist Huntersville, Holy Spirit Catholic, Independence Hill Baptist Church, Journey Church Huntersville, Mt. Zion United Methodist, New Beginnings Moravian, New Birth, Northcross Church, Sojourn Church, St. Albans Episcopal, St. Mark Catholic and St. Marks Episcopal.

The RAYS Program has created a new energy and excitement in the house with residents who connect to the many volunteers who now come in and out of their lives. While not required, the Hope House Resident Advisor volunteers are encouraged to share their special skills, hobbies, or interests during their time at the home. The residents are eager for different volunteers to come back and constantly watch the schedule for their favorite new friends.

About The Hope House Foundation
The Hope House Foundation is a 501-(c)-(3) non-profit charitable organization created to serve the growing needs of homeless women and women with children in the Lake Norman area in a comfortable suburban home in Huntersville. To qualify, residents must be carefully screened to live at Hope House and are expected to be responsible for household chores and to fulfill personal goals set by their case managers and staff to become self-sufficient. To learn more about Hope House and become a friend to its mission or to volunteer your time, call 704-992-1902 or visit www.hopehousefoundation.org .

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