Hope Haven volunteers have impacted the lives of the homeless in numerous ways. Here are just a few of the stories from some of the people helped by their generosity.
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“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
— Mother Teresa
I would like to thank all of our volunteers and donors for joining our mission and believing that someone who has lost everything can be transformed. Here are real stories and personal thank you’s from some of the people you’ve helped us serve over our twenty year history. Lesly D. Wicks – Executive Director
Hope Haven Testimonials
I was a resident in the Transitional Housing Program for Families at Hope Haven for almost two years. I was 24 years old and had three daughters. I would like to express what a blessing Hope Haven has been to me and my family.
Upon entering the program, I was greeted with warmth and sincerity from Hope Haven’s staff. They helped me target the areas in my life that I needed to work on and I attended classes and groups geared to strengthen those areas. Most importantly, they connected me with a community group that wanted to sponsor a Hope Haven resident to attend the Certified Nursing Assistants program at Kishwaukee College. The staff saw potential in me and I’m excited about the opportunity to help others. I have also started taking classes to work on a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. I chose this major because of the impact staff members have had on my life and I want to inspire others to succeed as they inspired me.
Although the services I received at Hope Haven were very beneficial, the best part of Hope Haven was the family-like atmosphere they provided for me and my children. I consider the staff and other residents my family. They were there when I needed someone to talk to, they gave me encouragement and praise when I needed it the most, but they also gave me the tough love I needed to keep me grounded.
I am thankful and grateful there was a place like Hope Haven when I became homeless. I hope to live my life helping others—the way Hope Haven helped.
I am writing to tell you how Hope Haven is helping me become a more productive citizen and a better mother to my two boys, while also providing my family with food and shelter. I have been struggling financially since 2005. At the present time in my life, Hope Haven is truly my home. It has given my family and me security and stability, and I am very grateful. Upon arrival at Hope Haven, I was homeless, without a job and without any means to support myself or my children. I basically was hopeless and somewhat doubtful on whether I would ever reestablish myself again. However, I quickly came to realize how helpful and heartfelt the staff at Hope Haven can really be. Their programs are very unique and effective in helping people in my situation. They also embraced my family as if we were their own.
Hope Haven helped me focus on the future, and not just the present and I regained much needed hope. During my stay at Hope Haven, I have accomplished many things, for example I am currently attending Kishwaukee College to obtain a degree in Office Systems. I am working, my children are doing well in school, and I have learned to use the resources that are available within the community.
Most importantly, Hope Haven has given me and my children the structure, stability and security we needed while we wait to move into a new home. My children have had the opportunity to participate in their own programs; they’ve attended summer activities and received tutoring after school. My children have come to love and accept the staff at Hope Haven as part of our family. My boys mean the world to me and I appreciate the role the staff has played in their lives.
Hope Haven has exceeded my thoughts and expectations of what a homeless shelter would provide for someone like me. I was very skeptical, never living in a shelter before, but this experience has helped me regain trust and confidence in other people. Most of all, I have regained my self-esteem and feel hopeful about my future.
Honestly, Hope Haven has been just what the name says, “A Haven of Hope”. When I came to Hope Haven, all I had was the clothes on my back and my son. During my time at Hope Haven I learned much and gained plenty. I try not to focus on how I became homeless, or ask “why me”. Instead, my focus was how to make things better for me and my four children. I worked hard and saved money because I understood that outside of those wonderful walls was a real life waiting for us. I thank God for Hope Haven and all of the wonderful staff there. They were a tremendous help to me and my family.
Hope Haven made me see my life so differently in just a short time. It made me want more out of life and to never settle for less. I am 19 years old with a two year old daughter. Before I went to Hope Haven I had an apartment which I couldn’t afford so I fell behind in rent and lost my home. I came to Hope Haven thinking I would just receive shelter, but I quickly realized it was much more than a place to sleep. Hope Haven doesn’t just put a roof over your head; it helps you with everyday skills like managing money, programs for the kids, and teaching parents how to bond with their children. Hope Haven also taught me to never depend on someone else and to always be able to take care of myself. Without Hope Haven I would have been so lost. I see a future for myself now, and I know how to get there.
December 22nd was the first day I came to Hope Haven. It was a cold day and I had nowhere to go, no one to call, and no one to guide me—I was truly alone. I was hopeless, nothing but pain in my heart. With Christmas approaching, the only thing I wanted was a place to lay my head and feel some ease from my troubles. Hope Haven was a God send. They took me in with so much understanding and respect for my problems. They gave me shelter and food, but most of all they gave me a chance at life again. They gave me all the information I needed to get myself back on track so I could live a more successful life. Hope Haven restored the hope that I lost that day on December 22nd and gave me a better understanding about life. I thank Hope Haven each day for giving me a second chance at life and helping me realize that I too could have dreams and goals. That’s why it so crucial that society has organizations like Hope Haven, they give people hope and motivation to get back what they might of lost. Hope Haven provides people with resources and that extra push they need to get things done. When you are down, they have case workers there to talk to you and ease your troubles. I believe some families might lose interest for life or even their self determination when they become homeless, but Hope Haven restores that. Hope Haven can give people the tools to become more independent and able to prosper in their community, just like they did for me.