I Belong: Building Healthy Communities

“I never knew a love like this existed”

When I leave Acres of Hope I know I won’t be alone.”

“It’s so cool to see all the people that support us, they show us their love.”

“Mommy I want to play with Grandpa Joe.”

Quotes from Acres of Hope Women and Children

Behind the scenes at Acres of Hope, after you have sown your seeds of kindness and love, the Acres of Hope families are sealing in their hearts the memories of your support. From holiday meals, to raking our plentiful falling leaves, and everything in between, they experience your love. From the volunteer who drives a mom to her next appointment, to the Angel Grandparent who comes to play with the children at the park, they experience your love.

Acres of Hope women come to change their lives, often leaving behind old friendships and relationships that helped keep them in a life of dysfunction, abuse, addiction, and homelessness. When they arrive, they begin to discover what it feels like to be part of a good community that will help edify and encourage them on the path of breaking the cycle of homelessness for their families.

You are that loving, healthy, safe community.

Each day Acres of Hope families are blessed to have the support of you and your groups - churches, civic and community organizations, scout troops, men’s and women’s clubs filled with individuals who invest their time and care to show our families there is another way of life. It is because of you, the champions behind the scenes that our families are breaking the cycle of homelessness. Your time has shown our residents your love. Your financial contribution has provided the stability and met the physical needs to provide for each family at Acres of Hope. Your efforts to keep the campus in shape offers fellowship with our families and keeps Acres of Hope looking beautiful throughout the year.

The Acres of Hope families are experiencing healthy community life because of you. They no longer feel like they are fighting alone. They now know they have a place they belong, in all of your hearts. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the love and support you show Acres of Hope families.

To be a part of the healthy community changing the lives of women and children breaking the cycle of homelessness,

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or call 530-878-8030

Triggers: No longer Afraid

The time on the clock, reminds me of when it happened. The scent in the air, takes me back to the wet cement beneath the bridge. When someone says his name, it reminds me of the fear. My body seizes up, I want to run but I can’t move my feet. I want to scream but I can’t open my mouth. I want someone to see, but it seems these nightmares are locked inside of me. The triggers bring me back to the places I once knew.

At Acres of Hope we see women and children defy odds every single day. Triumph after triumph happens with each mile marker that is reached. It may be reunification with children, perhaps a new dish prepared for dinner, a bedtime story read at night, or a deeper understanding of God’s truth. Acres of Hope is transforming lives. However one of the most powerful moments revealed of transformation is when a woman or her child can say “I am no longer afraid.” When the things of yesterday that used to trigger responses of fight, flight, or fright are dismantled by the safety, stability and love offered at Acres of Hope. It is here that our staff and volunteers get to see lives transformed right before our very eyes. That is when their story changes.

I use to be afraid of everything, afraid of what would trigger me throughout the day, and make me feel like I was back in a place of pain or isolation. Now I walk freely, I take a deep breath of the air, and smell seasons changing. I look at the clock, and think, “Time to pick up the kids from daycare”. I hear footsteps behind me, and welcome the coming embrace from one of my new “sisters” trying to catch me to give an encouragement that spurs me onward. Those old triggers have died down, and my children and I are the evidence of Hope lived out.

To be a part of seeing triggers fade away and hope sprout forth,

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call: 530-878-8030

When I look in the Mirror: Andrea and Xyla's Update

But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2nd Corinthians 3:8

Andrea is not the same young woman that walked through the doors of Acres of Hope back in March of 2016. She no longer dwells with her daughter in an Acres of Hope cottage, she now lives in her own home. I went to visit Andrea and her daughter recently. When I arrived at her front door, she stood with a great big smile and a warm welcome. I could hear her daughter giggling in the background as she peeked around the corner with a shy hello. The smell in the air of fresh homemade beef stroganoff, made with great care to sustain her little family. A fine meal after a long day at work and preschool. There was no hint of the fact that this special moment almost did not come into existence. No hint of the day she stood in the middle of the road and closed her eyes to embrace the vehicle that would strike her down in a suicide attempt. No evidence of the instability of a family or a home in her earlier years. Andrea and her daughter Xyla are thriving and filled with hope.

Andrea once desired death, but now she is helping others to find joy in life. She was once an at-risk teen and now is helping other at-risk individuals have hope. Andrea was once searching for a family, but now has created a community and family of her own. The transformation and renewal that happens at Acres of Hope is a reflection of what your love and support has done to change lives and break the cycle of homelessness. This women use to look in the mirror and see her shortcomings, loss and pain. Today she looks in the mirror and sees the evidence of hope and a renewed life.

Watch Andrea and Xyla’s story and get involved in changing the reflections of families needing to see themselves in the mirror views of hope.

VIEW VIDEO

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030

I Believe You

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6

She was crumpled on the floor, her pale knees colored with the markings of the rug she knelt upon. She pulled her hands slowly down her face. The streaks of dry tears made white trails from her red rimmed eyes to her chin. “Do you believe me”, she asked in a soft voice. I looked her in the eyes, and responded back gently, “I believe you”! Her physical and emotional scars told her tale, with no words even needing to be spoken. Yet she just had to hear those words, she needed to know that she was not on her own. She needed to know that more than the courts could reveal, more than the scars could tell, that someone who loved her, believed her. The moment she heard that she was believed was the exact time she rendered a deep sigh from the core of her being. Barely audible a whisper escaped from her lips, “Thank You”.

The words “I believe you” are so powerful for a woman who has seen dark days. The effects of abuse, either emotional or physical can be enough to damper the light of hope within a person and make them feel they walk alone. When a woman at Acres of Hope finds the courage to begin reclaiming her voice, her worth, and declare that she is more valuable than what she has seen or experienced. Staff and mentors are there to help her find the courage to thrive. She will know she is supported, loved and believed.

You can be a part of breaking off the chains and cages of silence that some of our Acres of Hope families have lived in. You can be a voice of hope, a listening ear, or heart of love that breaks the strongholds of fear and reveals a story of victory.

Get Involved Today:

Visit : acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030

Healthy Choices Produce Healthy Lives

The scene was beautiful. The sun was shining in brightly through the window. A baby carrot rolled across the counter to the floor. “Uh Oh”, a little voice declared. At that very moment a young boy marched into the kitchen, with his mother’s hand attached to his. “Up here mom, the apple, please”. His mother knew exactly what to do, she grabbed the apple, and peanut butter, and the little boy’s dream of a great snack time came true. Healthy choices, made by healthier moms was being established at Acres of Hope.

It’s amazing to watch women and their children grow stronger and wiser in making healthy choices that will impact their lives. Each day at Acres of Hope women are learning new life skills and practical skills, so they have the tools they need to make the choices that will help them thrive as they renew their lives. To see families go from homeless to independent strong mothers and children is a powerful story to watch unfold. Mothers who read their children stories at night before bed. Women who know the importance of sending their children off to school prepared for success with backpacks full of completed homework and nutritious snacks. Mothers who step out confidently into the workforce and shine brightly in their field of employment. Children once timid and fearful, lacking proper social and behavioral skills, who are now thriving in their fellowship of friends at school and home. Ultimately the reward of these healthy choices are revealed in Acres of Hope alumni who are living in their own homes. This is the evidence of the transformative power of Acres of Hope. Healthy choices produce healthy lives.

To be a part of seeing families make healthy choices

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or call 530-878-8030

The Evidence

A smile from a child who once screamed at the idea of being touched. A mother learning self defense after experiencing domestic abuse. A family finding their way out of homelessness after a long cycle of running from program to program to find refuge. This is Acres of Hope.

Acres of Hope is changing lives each and every day. Your support has been a key factor in seeing women and children climb out from the dark places they have seen in their lives, into the light of hope. Recently Acres of Hope has experienced new babies born, watched as babies have started walking, and advancing in talking. Acres of Hope cottages are overflowing with families are growing stronger. Mothers are stepping into the work force. Some are finishing their education. Mothers are achieving full reunification rights with their children. Alumni have created a community of support and connection with the current residents and their peers. They come to share their stories, connect residents to job openings, and encourage families to keep going. Acres of Hope is having a huge impact on lives because of your support.

In the process of sharing all this great news of how Acres of Hope is breaking the cycle of homelessness, we always want to remind all of our great supporters of the need of continued help. We have a full house at Acres of Hope of lives being transformed. Yet there is a waiting list of women and children still hoping for a life of transformation. Your impact has been piercing through the darkness of those who have been, and are currently going through the process of renewal at Acres of Hope.

Today I would like you to read a letter from Acres of Hope alumni Jennifer. Jennifer’s family has been transformed because of your care. Jennifer wants you to know just how much your love is appreciated. Click the link below, to read Jennifer’s letter to you. Also take time to watch her video about what it was like for her and Gio, to find their own strength to stand.

The evidence of your support in transforming lives cannot be denied.

Jennifer’s Letter to You

Jennifer & Gio’s VIDEO

You Don't Have To Do That Anymore

“Don't fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

They ran quickly into the little yellow playhouse. The giggles were loud, the children’s speed remarkable. Some made it in, some weren’t quite fast enough to step inside before the barricade went up. Among the youngsters who made it inside was a little girl and a young boy, whose impact on my heart is still beating strong as I write to you today. The little boy quickly began grabbing items to barricade the door. “Quick Quick” he yelled, as he put up a mesh foldable tent up against the door. “We have to keep the bad guys out”, the young boy screamed. The little girl, listening to the kids on the other side of the makeshift wall of protection looked at the young boy and said, “We are safe here, you don’t have to do that anymore.” She took the corner of the blockade and pulled it down, and said, “Look they’re safe”.

Watching the children’s interaction revealed the power of what is happening at Acres of Hope. Each and everyday that story is played out in the reality of our women and children. The blockades, and walls of protection to survive are coming down. The shifting eyes of mistrust are turning into glistening eyes of joy. The scars are healing, the emotional trauma is being overcome by the words of truth spoken into identities. Self esteem is growing, most importantly safety and stability are declaring to Acres of Hope women and children, that they don’t have to live in their old ways anymore. They are free to walk out into the light of joy. A child’s play is even more beautiful when you can see it through the eyes of Hope!!

At Acres of Hope we are transforming the lives of women and children breaking the cycle of homelessness. You can get involved.

To learn more visit: acresofhopeonline.org or call: 530-878-8030

Peek-a-Boo, I See You

The giggles and chuckles were intertwined. The shiny remnants of glorious slobber shimmered around the corners of his mouth. His wide smile boasting the sprouts of 4 tiny teeth was enough to melt any human heart. “Peek-a-boo, I see you”, his mother proclaimed with a high pitched voice. Her son delighted at each call. He held onto the moments of joy. He reflected the love that his eyes were embracing. Each time his mother went invisible behind the wall of her hands, the little one searched feverishly for her. Until her eyes would peek out above the rim of her fingers and his delight would return. “Peek-a-boo, I see you”.

For a family that has grown up outside of the trauma, and homelessness that many of our Acres of Hope women and children have faced, it would seem a normal occurrence to experience a game of Peek-a-Boo. Yet for an Acres of Hope family who has faced the odds and trauma that led to a life of homelessness, such a game proves that transformation really happens. Instead of worrying about where their next meal is coming from, they play Peek-a-Boo. Instead of a crying baby and a mother clutching her head in stress, there is laughter. Instead of a mother and child standing in line hoping to get into an emergency shelter, they play inside the safety and warmth of their own home. A game of Peak-a-Boo at Acres of Hope means a family is more than just making it, they are thriving.

We delight to hear the laughter, we love to see the joy. We are comforted by knowing another family is safe. That a woman and her child are in the process of breaking their cycle of homelessness. So the next time you hear it, those words, “Peek-a-Boo, I see you”, remember our Acres of Hope families. Remember to pray for them, because they are doing the hard work of renewing their lives. Pray for them to know more beautiful moments of transformation. Pray for them to become the Family of Hope they are striving to be.

To become a partner of prayer for Acres of Hope families and to pray for our campus:

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or call 530-878-8030

Cycle Broken: Jennifer and Gio's Story

Growing up, life had it’s ups and downs. I was 13 when I started smoking weed, and then I began to experiment with other drugs here and there. My childhood was a mixture of good days, and other days held some dysfunctional behaviors that kept me a prisoner to the substances I learned to love. My family had it’s struggles. My mother had been abused so she was a tough love kind of mom. She was an alcoholic in my early years but when I turned 3 she got sober, and then began wrestling with depression. As I got older abuse found their emotional and physical claws etched deep in my heart. I ran to self medicating to cope with my inner screams.

The longer I used my cravings got worse. I was doing something that was hurting my family, so I would use more to try to cover up the guilt and shame

At Age 24 life sent me it’s hardest blow. I lost my father, and he was my world. He always had a way of making me feel loved and cared for. He made me feel like I could do, or be anything. When he died the heaviness I felt inside was too much, and I plunged deeper into addiction. Along with drug usage came toxic relationships with men. I was stealing and lying, my family was disappointed. My world changed though when I had my son, Giovanni. From the first moment I looked at him I knew I had to give him the best, but I didn’t know how. I couldn’t even give him a home, I was bouncing around from place to place, I had no stability. I knew I had to get help, and find a way to change my life.

Gio was 3 months old and I was 35 years old when we came to Acres of Hope in the winter of 2017. I wanted to break the cycle of homelessness. I wanted to have enough time to really focus on the things that were causing me to keep going out and be self destructive over and over again. I needed to learn the tools so I could be self sufficient and be less codependent on my family. I've learned at Acres of Hope how to be a mother to my son Gio. I also now know how to be appreciative of the time I am given to spend with my son. I learned to consider thought over emotion that feelings are temporary. I've also learned what its like to have self worth and how important self care is. I learned to have structure in my life. The most important thing I learned is through God I can do all things.

Gio and I now live in our own home. I work full time as a monitor for homeless individuals locating permanent housing. I have come full circle. I use to be the one homeless looking for a place to stay, now I have my own home and I can help others find their way. I just wanted to take a moment and tell you all how much I appreciate what you have done for me and my son. Gio was raised outside of the cycle of homelessness because of you! He said his first words, began to crawl, walk, dance, and have true joy because of you. We have broken the cycle. We are a family of Hope. I will always remind Gio of the kindness of those who support Acres of Hope, and how our lives were changed by the pure love expressed.

Jennifer, An Acres of Hope Alumni

To help change more lives, and break the cycle of homelessness for families like Jennifer’s

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030

I Hope You Dance!!!

She lifts her hands high in the sky

As if heaven was close enough to drop in and say hi

She sways side to side, and has no cares

A tear every once in a while will trickle from the eyes that she bares

Each movement a melody erupting in her heart

For she knows what it feels like when light bursts forth out of the dark

She hums gleefully the tune of her soul

Revealing a women who was once fearful is now growing bold

She dances down the pathway

She dances in the road

She dances because she's free

And her story must be told

She's no longer homeless

She has a place to rest easy

She dances to unleash the joy and uncage her tranquility

Oh dear woman, reveal the Glory

Of the one who came close and transformed your story

I hope you dance. 

 

A Home Of Our Own

Home, it's a word that would warm my heart at the thought, yet send chills through my body in reality. I was pregnant, and homeless. When I went to the hospital to have my child, we had great care and I wondered, how was I going to leave knowing we had nowhere to go. If I opened my mouth and told the doctors, I feared they would take my child away. What was I going to do. I spent the next few months couch surfing with my newborn wherever someone would have me. Yet I grew in fear as I thought about the reality of one day not having a place for me and my child to go. We needed a home. 

Leading up to my circumstances of having a child was a roller coaster life. I was in and out of the foster care system. The moment you set your feet down, it was time once again to get your trash bag of clothes packed again to relocate. I would move back home for a short stint, only to be removed from my parents care again. My life lacked stability, it lacked hope, it lacked the warmth of having a home.

My life now however is different, I have found my home. One day while couch surfing at a friends house, her mother shared with us, about a place she had just heard about called Acres of Hope. She told us they gave women and children who were homeless a place to live for up to two years, while they fight to renew their lives, and become strong families. I checked out their information online and I was amazed, they helped women clear records, gain employment, reunify with children taken into the foster care system, gain mentors and all the tools they need to be able to step out on their own. This excited me, I could feel the rise of hope in my core. I looked at my child that evening and decided to fill out the application. 

A couple weeks later after the interview process, I found out I was accepted to move onto campus. When I arrived I was given a key, and I heard the worker say, "This is the key to your home." I felt the water form in my eyes. As I held my baby tucked in my arms and slowly began to walk toward my cottage, I knew something had changed. I unlocked the door, and it was beautiful. There were quotes on the walls, the cottage had a crib and new baby toys. There was a bed for me, I no longer had to sleep on the couch, or floor. There were books, and all that we would need. I sat on the bed with my baby and I cried, I whispered in his ear, "We are home". His gentle coo warmed my heart, as if he knew we had found our place. 

My child has been growing so much, into a healthy beautiful little boy, and my life has been transforming. Acres of Hope took care of the physical needs, and has really dug deep beneath the surface of layers of my past, my pain, and helped me and my child have a renewed life for our present and future. We have a home, and a life of Hope. 

Today you can be a part of helping more families have a home of their own. 

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030

 

 

Little Hands

Little Hands I am so thankful that you will never know

The obstacles I faced, trying to find a safe place for you to grow

You will know life outside of searching for a home

You will be raised with care, and never be left alone

You will know love, joy and peace,

You will have good food, and stability

Little hands I love you, and I am doing my best

I am renewing my life, so no weight will be carried around on your chest

I am your mom little one, and it's my job to keep you safe

Provide for you and guide you, that's my role, and my place

Little hands I am here for you, and will always be

Thanks to Acres of Hope for giving a big hand up to you and to me.

Acres of Hope is a place where the cycle of homelessness is broken for women and children who seek a path of renewal and transformation for their lives. The families of Acres of Hope are able to pass on to the next generation a life of true joy, patience, and love. 

Get involved today and help families break the cycle of homelessness

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or call 530-446-1621

The Lives You've Saved

A baby kicking in the womb. A woman who was contemplating if she could take anymore of what life was throwing at her. A child closing his eyes and plugging his ears, to silence out the world. The woman who is looking for a fresh start after recovering from a life of addiction.  These are the stories of lives you have helped save. 

Each day at Acres of Hope we feel so grateful for the lives that have been saved and rescued from various experiences that women and children entering the program have made it through. Everyday the women and children of Acres of Hope get to experience love that contagiously is extended from the volunteers and staff, to the Acres families which then impacts those who come in contact with the residents. Every dollar you donate, every minute you spend volunteering, every time you share about Acres of Hope to a friend, or those who get their church, and community groups involved, you are helping us save and transform lives. We couldn't see lives transformed in such a powerful way without your gracious love and kindness to our families. 

We just wanted to take a minute to say thank you for helping Acres of Hope save and redeem lives. 

To get involved today,

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or call 530-878-8030

The Monster: Escaping the Trauma Within

"There is a coldness that surrounds me, as the shivers ripple through my body. It's voice makes me go numb, it's footsteps makes me tuck as far inside of myself as I can go. I am afraid. No matter where I go everything turns to glass, it is coming, and no matter how loud I scream, no matter how fast I run, no matter what space I crawl inside, it is there. It always seems to find me. How do I escape, how can I finally be free. I have been out of it's grasp in the physical world for years now, but it is still here, it is the monster living inside of me." 

Many of the women and children who come to Acres of Hope have experienced in their life extreme abuse and trauma. The staff and volunteers  work diligently to break down the barriers in the physical realm of their lives and the lives of their children. Yet there are barriers that are unseen that must be torn down as well. For many of the families at Acres of Hope they are fighting to overcome the unseen monsters of their past. The abusers who took advantage, brought harm, or showed ultimate neglect, and emotional abuse to them. As Acres of Hope staff and volunteers dive deep to care for our families we recognize there is more than what is seen that has kept these families in homelessness. We realize we must help them break through and deal with the monsters within. We must be willing to sit and listen to enter in to the inner sanctuaries of our families and seek to step inside the painful walls of their hearts, and reveal to them they are no longer alone. We must be willing to help them walk out the doors and escape the trauma within. 

Through prayer, the revelations that come from daily bible studies, and a listening ear, women and children are able to unpack the lock box of secrets they have been carrying around that was weighing down their hearts. They are able to experience the freedom of hearing you were a child, you were vulnerable, most importantly, that abuse was not your fault. Acres of Hope staff and volunteers help them deal with the root issues going on so that our families can learn to step out of the trauma within and truly live, truly have hope. 

When our families are able to let go of the weight on the internal, they can begin to take responsibility for the choices they are now making in the physical world around them. Each day Acres of Hope fights to bring freedom through the willingness to come close enough to listen, and proclaim truth into the lives of our families. 

For the women and children who are facing monsters and seeking to escape the trauma within, we are here. You can join us in the fight. Donate, volunteer, become a mentor, they need you.

To help Acres of Hope families escape the monsters and escape the trauma within:

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org  or Call: -530-878-8030

 

 

 

Twas the Last Day of Summer Break

Twas the last day of summer break and a boy sat on the couch

Reflecting on his season off, in the big Acres of Hope house

His days were filled with wonder, and each memory brought a smile

For he had done so much, and school would be starting in a little while

He ran, jumped, and played, with his brother and his sister

He went to amusement parks, and rode on rides that were a twister

He went on fun trips, and ventured new trails

Created new memories as each day his family prevailed

He got to enjoy his life, as he grew more in his stature

He practiced new life skills and tools he set to master

His family was continuing to grow healthy and strong

He would be loved and begin school with a caring send off

He would have his lunch packed, and his supplies for class

He would have all his paperwork filled out when the teacher asked

As the evening set in and his mother asked him to remember

The events of the summer that will be a part of their new found stories, forever

That little boy remembered a summer filled with glee

While all the time living in safety and stability

He swam in lakes and treaded water in pools

He grew a lot as he learned new skills and tools. 

He petted the animals when they went to the zoo

His imaginations grew as FairyTale Town revealed dreams do come true

But when he was asked what was the greatest summer moment of them all

He proudly whispered, "hanging with my mom, I can't wait until fall"

Acres of Hope provides a safe and stable place where women and children breaking the cycle of homelessness get an opportunity to truly live outside of a life of trauma. Acres of Hope families get to experience a life where they have a home, and can grow together as a strong and healthy family. The memories created and shared are building new lasting traditions for families seeking a life beyond what they had previously known. 

You can be a part of creating the stories and traditions of Acres of Hope families.  Like the many wonderful people that have impacted their lives this summer, you can have an impact.

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or call: 530-878-8030

I Am Free To Be A Kid: An Acres of Hope Poem

Hear me run, jump, and play

See me defy the odds each day

Statistics were against me

Labels sought to define me

Trauma was a test

But today you can call me blessed

You see each day I am learning what it means to be free

To come out from all the hiding to show the world the gift God made in me

I know longer shudder when I hear footsteps come through the room

I no longer find security behind the sofa or hiding in the closet behind the broom

For my mom has brought me to a safe place where we can now grow

The staff and volunteers are friendly, and they love me, you know

They teach us about the Bible, share with us new tools,

They make us sweet treats and guide us, and we get special prizes when we've been following the rules

We have a special park where we can rip and run everyday

Acres of Hope is a special place where me and my mom have a home and they don't send us away

We've found where we belong until we grow strong and can stand

Now I am free to be a kid, thanks Acres of Hope for lending us a hand. 

 

Acres of Hope is transforming the lives of women and children to break the cycle of homelessness. You can get involved today, and be a part of helping Acres families have a fresh start. 

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030

Redemption Park: Transforming kids with fun

At Acres of Hope there is a beautiful place where little lives are being transformed, Redemption Park. Redemption Park is a part of the Acres of Hope campus where children can go and have a renewed experience of healthy play, and interaction with others. For many children coming out of homelessness, the idea of park has different meanings. Park may have been a place of trauma, drug usage, or a hangout when a person has nowhere else to go. Instead of focusing on playtime, a child may be focused on where mama is and what is happening to her. 

Many children when they arrive to Acres of Hope and experience Redemption Park for the first time, are in a daze, they are looking for somewhere to hide, or are looking for their mom to make sure she is safe. However after those first couple of days pass, you hear the transformation begin to take place. "Mom let's go to the park", screams a child. The scene is beautiful, boys racing their little trikes and bikes around the miniature raceway. The sound of chains singing out from a child soaring on the swing set. The laughter erupting as children go speeding down the slide. Competitions had on the monkey bars and climbing arenas. Giggles coming out from the play tunnel. The transformation is priceless. 

Redemption Park like all the other areas of Acres of Hope is a place that helps women and children know that they are really breaking the cycle of homelessness to live out a life of hope. 

Won't you join us in transforming lives.

Visit us at: acresofhopeonline.org or Call us at: 530-878-8030  

The Tea Party: The Transformation of a Child

Her sparkling crystal blue eyes peeked at me. Her mother's legs were the walls she hid behind. I called her name but she scrunched herself further behind her mother. She grabbed tightly to her pants. I pulled out all the tricks for allowing a little one to know she was safe, but she was not buying it. Throughout the week I would see her during different activities, and I would offer her the same invitation. A simple wave, and I would wait to see if I would get one in return. No matter where I would find her, she would hide. She hid behind chairs, under the table, and when there was no where to hide, she would put both hands over her face and turn to the wall. 

Then last Saturday it happened! I was sitting with some of the mothers and their children, and I saw her. Before I could give her my normal invitation by a wave, there she was, walking toward me, with bright eyes, a terrific little smile, and a small tea pot and pink cup. Her words were simple, "Tea for you". I could feel my throat get caught up. I held out my hand and received her little cup, received her little invitation. For the next hour, I watched as she walked in and out of the room pretending to refill her pot to bring me endless cups of tea. There was something about that day, that moment when she realized I was safe. That I was approachable. Most importantly it was the day that the giver of the invitation had switched. I was invited in by this wonderful little girl, who I was watching find hope. It is a tea party I will never forget. 

The transformation that happens at Acres of Hope for children is so amazing. Children who have experienced the cycle of homelessness with their mothers come from backgrounds where hope was silenced and unseen. When children arrive with their mothers at Acres of Hope they can breathe, in some cases for the first time. They learn they are safe, they can trust, and most importantly they are loved. They get to watch as their mothers grow into strong healthy women, and they begin to imitate the actions of strong and healthy lifestyles. 

You can take part in transforming the life of an Acres of Hope child. Perhaps you will experience getting an invitation to a tea party. Maybe you will have your heart filled by seeing transformation happen right before your eyes. 

Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030 to get involved today. 

A Tent Beneath The Bridge

Children laughing, delight in their eyes as they race to the park on their bikes. A baby taking her first steps as her mother claps her hands in delight. The smell of a home cooked meal filling up the kitchen, as the sound of toys played heavily against the floor fills the air. Yet a mother wakes up from her dream, and the cold breeze fills her nostrils. The wind brushes against the fabric walls, as the clapping sounds of metal poles sing through the air. She pulls back the flap to open the tent, looks at the tall, thick cement walls holding up the bridge above her. She listens to the vehicles that serve as her alarm clock in the morning, and she realizes she wants something more. She wants her dream to become a reality. 

We have all probably at some point in our lives been driving along, and noticed somewhere in the midst of our travels, a community of tents beneath a bridge. Perhaps our hearts for a moment became saddened. Perhaps we questioned the circumstances of those living in such a condition. However, rare is the moment that we have been blessed to hear the story behind the scenes. At Acres of Hope we get to hear the stories behind the scenes from the mothers who were coming from traumatic circumstances without a proper way to climb out of poverty, or the stability to enhance one's life. A pursuit of safety kept some of the women awake at night. A desire for survival kept them searching for freedom, yet a lack of resources would keep them in dire situations. For one mom, her place was in a tent beneath a bridge. Yet who knew her dream would come true when she found out about Acres of Hope. 

At Acres of Hope women and their children who have experienced the insecurity, and lack of resources needed for basic survival, are given the help needed to tear down barriers and break the cycle of homelessness. They leave their broken circumstances to dwell in their own cottages for up to two years. They are equipped to achieve employment and grow into strong mothers who can support their children with their own funds that they have earned. They are aided in finishing their education. For women whose children were removed from their custody because of their bleak state of living, Acres of Hope helps them through with the process of reunification. They are taught life skills and mentored through a renewal process, that produces transformed families. 

From a tent to her own home, one Acres of Hope mother realizes her dreams have become a reality.  No longer does she play the game of survival while living in fear, rather she has grown into a loving strong mother who has support, a community, and a healthy balanced life in a home. Her family is thriving. She has come along way from living in a tent beneath a bridge. 

You can help Acres of Hope transform stories of survival into stories of HOPE. 

To get involved today visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030

Career Women: From Homeless to Hired

When women come into Acres of Hope with their children they are coming with the desire to be independent, to be successful, to break the cycle of homelessness. They have come from histories of trauma, neglect, and instability. Some have never been employed or have never been equipped with the proper tools to gain employment. When a woman has come from a background of survival, street smarts are what get her through the rough years of her life. In order to help her to stand in today's job force someone must step in and teach her there is another path to go down. As a village that raises up a person, we can raise up women who have had no true foundation for being raised themselves. We can begin to ask the questions that will inform us of the barriers preventing a woman from becoming employed. In doing so, often enough we will hear the stories of tragedies and trauma. We hear the stories of a woman passed from home to home, tossed into a system of handouts without a true method of raising her up. 

At Acres of Hope women practice the skills they need to become successful out in the work force. With stable daily schedules, the women of Acres of Hope learn to put into practice time management. Each mother is engaged with the community at Acres of Hope where they get to practice good communication, conflict management, selflessness, and most importantly how to work together to get the job done. Volunteers from the community come onto Acres of Hope's campus and share resources, such as job skills, life skills, and career building tools that enable women to be equipped in resume writing, application filing, interviewing, and most importantly a strong work ethic that stands out to their employers. 

Acres of Hope women have made such an impact in the work force, employers are calling for more referrals. Acres of Hope is not just getting our women into minimum wage jobs, a high number of our women are finding careers above the base pay in their communities. Careers that allow them to support themselves and their children, careers with a future beyond just getting by.  As each woman steps out into the work force, we see the strength and courage of a woman of hope that has fought the good fight to overcome her past and the barriers keeping her and her children in homelessness. 

Acres of Hope women go from homeless to hired, and you can be a part of helping them succeed. Volunteer with us, and share a life skill, or job skill that can take our women to the next level of their lives. A life outside of homelessness. A life of hope.

Call today: 530-878-8030 or visit: acresofhopeonline.org