This summer, Reason 4 Hope went on the road sharing HOPE by speaking at youth groups and churches, and finished with five neighborhood block parties in August. They went to five neighborhoods in LaGrange County (stretching from Taylor Park in Wolcottville to Stone Lake northwest of Scott). Through private donations and business sponsorships, as well as the help of 55 volunteers, they had a cookout, music, games and face painting, bubbles and school supplies for the kids at each location. They estimate they met 650 people, including 250 kids.
“We were inspired by watching a ministry in Indianapolis load up their van and cargo trailer with food and supplies and going to where the need was at,” Co-founder Holly Nater stated. “We have been brainstorming on how to replicate that here in LaGrange County.” They were successful. “People need people,” said Jamelle Godlewski. “People need and want encouragement, support, love and hope. We just wanted to provide simply that. Provide an atmosphere for a community to come together and show that we, and others, care.”
This was definitely a community-building event. At Lightning Hills Apartments in LaGrange, an older, single woman said, “I don’t know who my neighbors are. I want to meet them and get to know them.” People brought lawn chairs and gathered under trees, talking and enjoying the atmosphere. At Lakeside Manor, kids lined up to get their faces painted. One mother said, “I don’t know why you came out here. We have been known for trouble. It’s so nice to know someone cares.”
Reason 4 Hope, a 501(c)3 organization, is a faith based ministry. However, they did not make that the focus at their block parties. At each event they put out a table of Bibles, devotionals and encouraging notes. Everything was free, and 40 Bibles and devotionals were handed out. Since Reason 4 Hope is not associated with any one church or denomination, they were able to garner the support of volunteers from 13 different churches, eight different denominations, as well as monetary donations from local businesses. At each event, balloons, pencils, rulers and educational materials were brought for the kids.
Now that Reason 4 Hope has received 501(c)3 status, they will be pursuing grants and donations to continue to grow their ministry and reach more people.
“Our goal is to continue to reach out to our community, build community, inspire volunteerism and speak HOPE where ever we go,” Godlewski stated.
There are plans in the works to expand their spring project of “Totes of HOPE” and their project from last December, “HOPE on the Streets.” Keep a lookout for a project you can get involved in.
Follow Reason 4 Hope on Facebook or visit the website at www.thereason4hope.com. “We are always looking to share who we are, what we do and why we do what we do with others,” Nater stated. “This is not just about LaGrange County, everyone needs hope.”
If you would like to have Reason 4 Hope speak to your organization, church, youth group or business, call Jamelle Godlewski at (260) 499-0909 or e-mail info@thereason4hope. com.