Life is full of surprises which certainly makes life more challenging. Unexpected pregnancy can be especially daunting for a young woman and a young man or for families already in crisis. The good news for these future parents is Hope House is available to assist them in all aspects of the life-changing endeavors ahead. A non-profit, faith-based ministry, Hope House offers the support parents need before birth and beyond to allow them to “Choose LIFE” for their unborn children.

Through grace, encouragement, resources and programs designed to help parents become self-sufficient and allow them to develop the necessary skills to become the best parents possible, Hope House helps make their futures much brighter. New Executive Director Victoria Heinz says, “We are not just a pantry for baby needs and not like typical government services. We provide a friendly atmosphere where moms and dads can come and have a cup of coffee, talk, get encouraging support and hopefully build a lasting relationship with us here at Hope House.”

Hope House has been serving the Tri-Cities, TN/VA community since 2002 and recently celebrated with an open house on Jan. 20 to reveal its new resource center located at 1567 N. Eastman Road, Suite 1, in Kingsport. Victoria is ecstatic to show off the new office suite and says, “We have an open classroom setting for parents to attend classes and events, like holiday parties, along with an adjoining child resource center for class-time childcare and a separate counseling center where parents receive counseling time with area professionals who donate their time.” She continues, “Life is messy and there can be other underlying issues going on.” Therefore, Hope House offers two support groups, one called “Life Support” for general mental and emotional health and another “Teal to Heal” for survivors of sexual abuse. In 2000, sexual violence coalitions from across the country voted to designate the color teal as the official color of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the teal ribbon was adopted as a symbol of awareness and prevention.

Hope House Resource Center recently changed its name from “Hope House Center for Women,” recognizing a community-wide need for not only moms, but also for dads. The center is currently developing more programs for dads and hopes to have a mentoring/activities group starting in March. One of the programs at Hope House is the Progress Point system. By regularly attending Hope House classes and events, prenatal care appointments, church or maintaining good school and/or job attendance, client moms and dads earn points to be used in exchange for baby food, clothing, accessories, care items, equipment and furniture. Among classes Hope House offers is “Mommy & Me,” an active bonding time for both moms and children. There are also classes in parenting, financial planning, healthy living and faith building. Hope House also works closely with other programs at area churches and organizations to provide additional support in addiction recovery, nutrition, prenatal classes and more.

Additionally, Hope House has a long-term residential program at another location. The facility can accommodate up to 12 residents. Mothers arrive during pregnancy and can stay with their baby for up to two years. There, these mothers receive not only housing, but also food, clothing, transportation, medical care, baby care needs, along with education and career resources in a group home setting.

Hope House leadership

Victoria Heinz was formerly at Hope House at the inception of the Resource Center some 14 years ago and, after leaving to further her education, has returned as the new Hope House executive director. Shantel Shockey has been the residential director for the past 13 years and works directly with the mothers and babies in that setting.

Director of Community Connections Angie Martin will be celebrating 15 years with Hope House in May. She began as residential coordinator and served as center director for 13 years.

“We have housed over 200 mothers and their babies in our homes and over 1,800 families have registered for ongoing services through our walk-in resource center,” Angie says.

How it’s funded

Hope House is funded by donations from churches, individuals and businesses along with grants from United Way and Bristol Speedway Children’s Charities. “Most all of those donations go directly for care of our clients,” declares Victoria.

Presently, the center is looking for male volunteers for the program for dads. To volunteer, donate or learn more about Hope House, visit the website at www.hopehouse.us, find them on Facebook at Hope House of Kingsport or call (423) 247-7994.

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