Hope House’s mission is to improve the quality of life for HIV-affected individuals and their families by providing high quality early childhood education and social services with a vision that it will be a catalyst for lifelong change in the lives of those affected by HIV and poverty. Hope House serves individuals and families through day care, preschool and social services. It started in 1993, when a group of women from the Junior League of Memphis began to investigate the need for HIV-related childcare. These organizers saw a need for women who couldn’t get the necessary health care services because they needed to stay home with their children. The group’s board of directors held its first meeting in 1994 and Hope House opened its facility in 1995, when it began offering child care and preschool services.
“People don’t realize what a huge impact childcare can have on health,” said Lenox Warren, Hope House director of development. “When parents get childcare, they can go to work or school. They also can go to doctor’s appointments. We’re here to help with barriers that prevent that.”
Hope House serves more than 30 children through its childcare center and preschool. Children must be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or have a direct caregiver who is diagnosed. Childcare has two classrooms: one infant room consisting of four infants with one teacher and a toddler room for nine children with two teachers. Preschool serves children ages 3 to 5 with one classroom and two teachers.
Hope House serves 550 adults through a variety of social services that focus on meeting basic needs so people can focus on their health. These services include play therapy, a violence prevention parent training program, individual counseling, support groups, tenant based rental assistance, mentoring, emergency financial assistance, case management, financial planning and other programs. Hope House has expanded services over the past 10 years, but has really grown in the past two years thanks to various new funding opportunities that have allowed it to expand adult offerings.
Hope House’s services are vital for those individuals living with HIV/AIDS who need proper health care to deal with related illnesses. And in many instances in Memphis, those who suffer are the ones with the least amount of resources. Unfortunately, they are forced to think about having proper shelter rather than how to live a healthy lifestyle.
“So many people don’t have what they need to live a healthy lifestyle,” Warren said. “When living with HIV, there is so much more to do to take care of their bodies.”
Hope House has a constant wait list because it doesn’t have the capacity to meet the many children who need its services. Donations along with additional funding sources would be a big help. “The biggest need is we have physical space for two more classrooms. Our house is big enough but would be an additional $100,000 a year,” Warren said. “That’s our goal, to expand that. Every bit helps.”
Another way individuals can help Hope House is through volunteering in classrooms, helping with resume building and financial literacy. Volunteers are individuals, as well as groups. With 20 employees serving 550 clients, volunteers are crucial. For more information about Hope House, visit hopehousememphis.org.
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