ENID, Okla. —
Hope Outreach operates an array of ministries to help Enid families in various ways.
Focus for the program targets everything from parents to the homeless, with a little gardening and a thrift store thrown in to help fund the lion’s share of the other missions.
Each parent enrolled in Hope Outreach’s parenting ministry is matched with a Christian mentor. Parents learn about good parenting practices by watching DVDs on pertinent topics.
“The parenting ministry is there to help anyone with the challenge of having to raise the baby or the child,” said Matt Lohman, executive director of Hope Outreach.
The program works not only with parents but with grandparents raising children as well. Societal expectations are not the same as a generation ago, Lohman said.
“Kids are raised differently than they used to be,” he said.
The majority of parents who come to the program are young, single mothers, Lohman said.
“The focus is to break the ‘bad parenting’ cycle,” he said. “It’s hard to hold someone accountable for what they’ve never learned or been shown.”
The backbone of the program, and a tremendous help to the young, single mothers, is Hope Outreach’s Earn While You Learn program. As parents complete classes, they earn “Mommy Dollars,” which they can use to purchase items they need, such as cribs and layette items.
Parents and soon-to-be parents can call 237-2292 to enroll. Glenda Aebi, program coordinator, will match them with a volunteer mentor. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Although the program is designed to assist parents from birth through the teen years, it’s also possible to use it for short-term parenting needs.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize our parenting ministry is open to anybody,” Lohman said. “They don’t have to be a client. If they are having difficulty with a 9-year-old, they can come view the DVD or read the lesson.”
Aebi said volunteers for the parenting program are very much needed.
“About 95 percent of our program is DVD, and all the sessions are put on by a volunteer,” Aebi said. “We stay right at about 30 volunteers that help us every week. We have a waiting list of girls to get in the program, but we don’t have the volunteers to meet the need.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can call Aebi. Most volunteers work one-on-one with clients, but a few work with small groups of clients.
“I would sit down, and we would have an interview and they would fill out an application,” Aebi said. “It’s one hour, one day a week. We have several who come in on their lunch break.”
The Parenting Ministry is having a crib and mattress drive throughout the month of April.
“Our goal will be 100 cribs and mattresses,” Lohman said. “People can either donate a fixed-side crib, buy a new fixed-side crib to donate, or give the money for a crib. On the mattresses, we would prefer new or gently-used or money.”
Drop-side cribs cannot be accepted due to a federal law that bans them.
Donors can contact the Parenting Ministry or the main number, 237-4673, with questions or to arrange drop-off or pick-up of cribs and mattresses.