By: Raymond Steward, Founder, Hope Active
About Hope Active: Simply stated, the vision of Hope Active is to be a bridge between great people and greater hope. We accomplish this through our mission, which is to restore hope in humanity by actively serving the needs of our surrounding community through relevant programs and community-based events.
Tell us about your most memorable day (so far) in your work at Hope Active.
It is very challenging to choose just one memorable day because I have two. The first day was during Vision night when I spoke to community leaders about the goal and direction for Hope Active. It was humbling to see so many people from diverse backgrounds raise their hands to be a bridge. The second day was at our most recent Back to School Bash, which was the culmination of those from Vision night, coming out to be a bridge and serving our community side by side. We were very pleased with the results, as we were able to impact and serve over 500 kids and families with backpacks, school supplies and health services. Here is a recap video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JX-rfv4PCA&t=13s.
How has the community or your peers benefited from work funded by the Moody Foundation?
Every 2 out of 5 kids start off the year without the necessary school supplies. We were able to be a bridge and ensure this was not the case for over 500 kids and families at the Back to School Bash, with the greatest percentage of those served residing in Galveston County. Many of these families are also still trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey. I like working with organizations that not only talk about issues but also help solve them. That is the definition of the Moody Foundation. They are a staple in this area and have tirelessly worked towards supporting many great organizations, such as Hope Active.
What are you using the funds for? Why is that significant?
This generous grant will go towards the costs of our Back to School event where we provide backpacks, school supplies, health services and so much more. This is significant because these students are our future leaders in the community and having the essential items for school will play a huge role in their educational development. In 2018, we exceeded our goal of giving out 500 backpacks and supplies. In 2019, these funds will help us exceed our goal of helping more than 750 families in need.
Why did you decide to start Hope Active?
After watching so many members of the community come together and serve each other during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, it made me realize that experiences like these should not be a one-time event. I was no longer interested in saying, “Someone should help.” Instead, I wanted to raise my hand and make a difference and connect with like-minded people who also wanted to help. In a day where all we hear is news dividing us, it was my hope to add a new narrative that supports being there for others in our community. We are not here to offer handouts but to offer a hand-up.
What are your goals for growing Hope Active and its initiatives in the next several years?
The plan for Hope Active is to continue our main initiatives and our programs. Our four main initiatives are the: Be A Bridge Awards & Gala, an event recognizing those in the community who have excelled in our programs and those who are going above and beyond in making a positive impact; annual Back to School Bash; annual toy drive and mentorship program for at-risk youth. We also have ongoing programs that support our vision, such as Diaper Pantry, Affordable Childcare Assistance and ESL/GED programs. By 2020, we hope to impact and be a bridge to over 2,500 people with our various initiatives and programs.