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.
Faith Farm Enabling Garden
Faith Farm Enabling Garden is designed with people with mobility limitations and the elderly in mind. Its crushed granite paths and raised beds make it easy to negotiate and easier to reach the plants, Lohman said. The program also offers horticultural therapy — participants can get their hands in the soil and connect with nature, Lohman said.
“Something new this year is we’re setting aside some beds for the parenting program,” Lohman said. “They can learn to grow healthy foods and, of course, save themselves some money.”
Faith Farm also offers classes for self-sustainability.
The gardening-centered group meets on Mondays and participants learn to make their own compost and learn about plant selections and the like.
Faith Farm also is working the Sterling House on their raised beds for elderly residents.
The past couple of summers’ drought have made for difficult going for Faith Farm, Lohman noted.
Community care ministry
Hope Outreach’s community care ministry provides residents in need help with electric bills, gasoline expenses, clothing, groceries and, at Christmastime, toys for children.
Those in need are given the opportunity to work in the Hope Outreach Thrift Store or warehouse in return for utility money or vouchers for the needed items.
“This gives them the opportunity to keep their dignity and keep their self-respect,” Lohman said. “It gives them the opportunity to work.”
The work component is in keeping with Hope Outreach’s core mission of empowering people for responsible living, Lohman said. The community care program gives people going through a financial rough patch the opportunity to help themselves.
Lohman said the outreach doesn’t see a lot of the same people over and over. Typically what is needed is just a spot of help, Lohman said.
“Somebody with a death in the family, divorce, job loss or job change — any number of things can cause hardship,” Lohman said.
Hope Outreach’s homeless ministry is a day ministry, not an overnight shelter.
“Its a safe, friendly place to get inside, out of the weather,” Lohman said.
The ministry provides shower facilities, washer and dryer, a telephone number for messages and a mailing address — important for would-be employers to be able to reach them.
“It’s a place they are able to go without making a business owner angry,” Lohman said.
The homeless ministry also provides assistance for clients to get back on their feet — if they choose.
Not everyone wants to make lifestyle changes, Lohman said. For instance, the root cause of their homelessness might be addiction, and they might not be ready to do the hard work of overcoming it.
Hope Outreach has plans to expand its program and develop an overnight shelter and programs to reach the roots of clients’ homelessness.
“Our goal is to open a Hope Center,” Lohman said. “Within the first 24 hours of someone coming through the door, we’ll want to find out how we can help them. If they don’t feel we can, we’re not the place for them.”
A Bridge to Life recovery program similar to the one offered by City Rescue Mission, in Oklahoma City, will be part of the curriculum at Hope Center, Lohman said.
According to City Rescue Mission’s website, Bridge to Life is an 8 to 10-month program designed to work with each individual client, helping them identify the obstacles in their lives that have prevented them from overcoming the cycle of dysfunction and quipping them to overcome their obstacles.
Thrift store and warehouse
“The thrift store truly is a ministry because we provide opportunities for the hard-to-employ to get a job,” Lohman said.
Employees may have felony charges or convictions in their backgrounds, which make it hard to find anyone who will give them a chance at a job. Three of the store’s employees were homeless when the thrift store put them to work, Lohman noted.
“We want them to get up on their feet,” Lohman said. “We want them to move on to better jobs.”
Lohman said a misconception exists in the community that store operates simply to provide inexpensive items for the community. However, 80 to 90 percent of Hope Outreach’s funding comes from sales of donated goods through the thrift store. Donations are important for that reason.
“It’s almost like they empower us to responsible ministry,” Lohman said.
The thrift store is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.ꆱ
Programs target everyone from parents to homeless
ENID, Okla. —
Hope Outreach operates an array of ministries to help Enid families in various ways.
- Progress 2013
2013 OUR HERITAGE, OUR FUTURE
The News & Eagle puts out an annual Progress edition. This year's 2013 Our Heritage, Our Future focuses the Enid area's rich heritage and its current and future endeavors.
Read individual stories on the enidnews.com site HERE
Our Progress edition also is available as part of our digital newspaper. Learn more about the ENE e-edition HERE.
A time to give
Bob Farrell volunteers for a number of organizations throughout Enid, a labor of love that began during his 25-year active duty Air Force career, at which time he rose to the rank of chief master sergeant.
The market normally opens the second Saturday of May, the week after Tri-State Music Festival. June 22 is the annual GreEnid promotion. Hours are 8-11 a.m. each Saturday during the season.
A way to fund progress
Cherokee Strip Community Foundation was started in 1999 and began receiving funds in 2000. The initial funds were raised because of a challenge match from Sisters of Mercy, former owners of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, which started the match program as a way to help the community.
'I love you Grandma warms my heart'
“I can tell Grandma one time, and she knows what the children need, grabs her stuff and goes and does it. It’s like having another teacher.” — Hoover Elementary teacher Nicole Moneypenny
“Enid is known as the AMBUCS capital of the world because there’s more AMBUCS in Enid per capita than any other city in the country." — Kent Clingenpeel, National AMBUCS president and Enid AM AMBUCS member
'A beautiful thing'
“When we talk about developing professional airmen, our community involvement is a big part of it.” — Col. Darren James, commander of 71st Flying Training Wing
Helping people overcome
Stepping Stones and Van’s House are housed at the same facility and are there to provide help for those who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
People making a difference
From vocational rehabilitation and homeless shelter services to community arts programs, a significant portion of Enid’s non-profit causes benefit directly when people shop at or donate to local thrift stores.
Care to share
Junior Welfare League bought adjoining buildings downtown and has been operating Return Engagement from one of the buildings but hopes to expand the store throughout both buildings.
- More Progress 2013 Headlines
- 2013 OUR HERITAGE, OUR FUTURE