Early positive outcomes:
Improved Educational Opportunities
Conflict Management Skills
Learning how to drive
Mental Health support
Community of Hope was born out of Cleveland’s growing demand for community engagement around issues of young adult poverty in our community. Since 2014, we have been bringing community volunteers together to support young people (ages 18 to 27) who emancipated from foster care. Our work utilizes a licensed, national mentoring model.
Two years ago, a faith-government partnership was created when-Thomas Pristow, then the Cuyahoga County Director of Children and Family Services, invited the faith community in Cleveland to come together for a breakfast to learn more about how to get involved. Mr. Pristow stated that,
“Community of Hope's work has the depth and breadth to be the single-most contributing factor in changing the lives of our youth in a positive, healthy, and supported way. It has by far the most potential in the multitude of services we offer to be the most impactful in the lives of our youth.”
Our work helps break the cycle of poverty and interrupts the intergenerational repetition of homelessness, low educational attainment, under-employment, criminality, and early parenting. Young adults who have experienced trauma, or who live in extreme poverty—adversities true of most youth who have emancipated from foster care----face a lack of equity and opportunity. Most of the services available to them lack the intensity and duration needed to change their, and their children’s, life trajectories. Our relationship-based service model addresses the needs of these most vulnerable young adults, empowering them to move beyond their circumstances to become healthy, contributing citizens. All of the youth we serve are current or potential parents. When we infuse services, equity, and opportunity in to their lives during early adulthood we are investing in the next generation—increasing the possibility of interrupting detrimental intergenerational patterns.
Community of Hope is a response to rising community interest in mobilizing to help young adults overcome post-foster care obstacles and challenges. The lessons we have learned while serving this specific subset of youth can be transferred and expanded to working with other marginalized youth. After an initial phase of growth, we plan to expand the model to serve formerly homeless young adults and young families as well.