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Acres of Hope of Auburn aims to help more families through expansion
By Stacey Adams
Jul 26, 2021 6:00 PM
Acres of Hope, an organization that focuses on helping women and children overcome cycles of homelessness and trauma, is hoping to expand its operations to provide assistance to more families.
“Our plan is to double our capacity to go from having 10 families at one time to having 20 families,” said Lisa Risdal, executive director for Acres of Hope.
The organization launched its GROW Campaign in June with plans to add transitional housing, a welcome center and a child development center, and replace the community house, which serves as counseling, classroom and engagement space. By the end of the $1.3-million expansion, the 12 existing cottages will be used for families in the communal intensive program and there will be eight transitional cottages for women to live semi-independently while building life skills.
Risdal described each phase of the expansion as a “domino effect,” as the transitional housing frees up existing cottages and a welcome center will provide women in the program with more security and privacy in the community house.
The two-year program provides the women with support services ranging from parenting instruction and counseling to job training and learning life skills such as cooking and building credit.
“It’s not us doing it for them,” Risdal said. “It’s us showing them this is how you do it and here are the resources. Then, that empowers them and you see them grow in their confidence at each milestone.”
Risdal said the organization hopes to be the last program the women need as they focus on the behaviors that led to homelessness and give women an opportunity for sustainable change. The program also works with the children to address childhood trauma to end the cycle.
The child development program aims to build a safe, connected setting for the kids with learning themes in a sensory-first environment. Christie Griffith, Acres of Hope family services director, said the new development center, named The Nest, will aid in their mission to “Nurture” and provide “Engagement” through playfulness and sensory and “STructure” by teaching responsibility.
Risdal said the organization has raised close to half of the funds for the expansion, and the plan is flexible to continue as additional funding becomes available.
“My goal is I never want to have an empty cottage,” Risdal said. “We’re here, we have a mission and we have a purpose. We want to be able to serve any woman that has the courage and determination to come in and do the hard work. We’re here, this is their opportunity – that’s why we exist.”
The community can assist with Acres of Hope’s GROW Campaign by making financial donations and volunteering time to assist with projects like landscaping, painting and interior decorating. Risdal said the community can also help by shopping at the Acres of Hope ReNew Store, located at 1725 Santa Clara Drive, Suite 130 in Roseville, which provides 35-40 percent of the organization’s financial support.
Information about donation and volunteer opportunities can be found at acresofhopeonline.org. More information about the GROW Campaign can be found at arcesofhopeonline.org/grow.
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