Ed. Note: In honor of October's Month of First, I'm happy to present this guest post from Grace Weil, the outreach coordinator for Hope House. Hope House is the first facility of its type in Tennessee. Here, some of the House's clients share their first interactions with the organization.
Imagine a life filled with secrets, criticism, disease, 10 pills a day and tens of thousands of dollars in treatment. Then imagine there was hope. There’s a place in Memphis that provides that hope.
Hope House is a non-profit agency committed to family centered, community based care for children who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. We serve as a preschool for children, along with providing services to their families. We are the only facility of this type in Tennessee and only one of seven in the entire world.
Around one-fourth of the Hope House children are HIV positive or indeterminate, ranging in ages from 6 weeks to 5 years old. Each of our students have a parent or caregiver who is HIV positive. Several have endured the challenging loss of a loved one and all of our families live in dire poverty. By providing pre-school education, day care services, respite care, and a 24-hour emergency care, Hope House is filling a void that existed in the continuum of care of HIV positive families in the Memphis area.
For most of our clients Hope House has become their support system, the network of people and services that offers guidance, encouragement, praise and a helping hand. All of our services mirror that of a parent nurturing her children into independence. It is the ultimate goal of Hope House to see to it that our families are self-sufficient and each of the programs is a stepping-stone to achieve independence.
In celebration of October’s Memphis Month of Firsts, Hope House interviewed asked adult clients from a weekly group therapy session about their first memories of Hope House:
“The first [memory] about Hope House was the warmth, welcoming and understanding as well as assisting me with needs”- Clarence
“It was a very positive memory. It was just as it is called, Hope House. Once meeting staff I truly believed there is hope for me. I was shown love, caring, support that gave me much courage to face the world. Here I’ve learned to be a positive force in my life” – Darryl
“The smiling, laughing faces of the Thursday support group” – Anonymous Client
“My first memory of Hope House was ‘will those people help me to make a better future for myself?’ I also asked myself ‘was this the group for me?’” – Frederick
“It was like a family that I never had. They made me and still do make [feel] as if I’m not a number but a normal health person and it’s ok to love yourself and your status.” – Anonymous Client
“I came wishing to find a way out of poverty. The Hope House gave me the tools that I needed and a rope to pull me out of poverty. For that I thank God that I have hope today.” – B.J.P.
“My first day at Hope House was okay. I didn’t know what to expect but I ended up getting a lot of knowledge from these classes.” – Raymond
“My first experience at Hope House was very inspirational. I volunteered. Being a volunteer allowed me to see and learn what their mission is. The staff provided a welcoming and friendly report. They also provided supportive services to help people within the community as well as outside the demographical areas of the county. Their hard work, dedication, and passion builds the gap that connects us as a community. I love Hope House. They are definitely a positive asset to Shelby County.” – Duan
We hope that you will join us in making an impact in helping the tiniest victims of HIV and AIDS in Memphis.
If you, your company, or your organization would like a tour of Hope house, please contact Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org.