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October 2015 Check Presentation

Monday, December 7, 2015

Oct. 2015 DBOT Photo - Hope Pres.

Hope. It’s a word that opens up universes in our hearts and vast landscapes in our lives. It has the power to lift us up from despair to determination, from the tiny, suffocating confines of today to the expansive possibilities of endless tomorrows.

At Hope Presbyterian Church, the power of this word truly comes alive. This aptly named fellowship of philanthropists has given a phenomenal boost of hope to Polk State College students through its $10,000 gift to My Brother’s Keeper, the largest monetary donation in the three-year history of the program.
My Brother’s Keeper provides basic necessities and resources to help students in need lift themselves up to a promising future. Everything from free food and personal hygiene items to resume-writing assistance and help in navigating social services are offered to hundreds of needy students each year.
Awareness of this alarming problem was brought to Hope Presbyterian through Ron Hatley, president of the church’s chancel choir and five-year member of Polk State’s chorus. He discovered that one of his fellow singers in the Polk chorus, a student whom he got to know personally and whose musical talent shined, was homeless. It opened his eyes to the tragic situation in a personal way.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Hatley, who became determined to help the student and others like him. “Because these are young people, trying to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, it’s so poignant. If students are hungry, they can’t learn.”
When he invited the student to perform at the church, his talent and resolve deeply moved other church members as well.

A large bequest to the church made it possible to make a difference. Members of the church’s newly formed Mission Committee thought of the student who had so touched their hearts, and the initiative organized to help others like him.

On October 26, 2015 at a check presentation ceremony at Polk State College’s District Board of Trustees meeting, Hope Presbyterian Church was honored for its incredibly meaningful gift. Brent Parrish, member of the Polk State College Foundation Board of Directors, expressed the heartfelt gratitude of Polk State College, the Polk State Foundation, and the students whose lives are being transformed by Hope’s generosity.

At the ceremony from Hope Presbyterian were Reverend Owen Carriker and Mission Committee members Ron Hatley, Barb Follett, Zella Sheplee, Sue Williamson, and Mardy Castro, as well as My Brother’s Keeper coordinator Casmore Shaw.

The church members expressed gratitude toward the bequest that made it possible, and also praised Polk State College for its compassionate faculty and staff.
The group said they felt fortunate to be able to help, and fulfill part of the church’s mission to lift people up. They hoped to enlighten other churches about the need in their community and about My Brother’s Keeper, and inspire them to help as well. They called this “the Hope Challenge.”

“This is an issue that is doable,” said Reverend Carriker. “So often, we encounter situations where we can work, and work, and work, and it doesn’t make much of a dent. But this we can dive into and really have an impact.”