Hope Station entered a new era this summer.
After serving as interim executive director since the late Jim Washington stepped down due to health issues, Safronia Perry was named the executive director in August. At the same time, the board hired Jessica Miller to fill the newly created role of CEO in a move that restructured the leadership of the nonprofit organization.
Together Miller and Perry are working to expand the scope of Hope Station’s work in the community.
“It’s a transition, and we’re starting to get used to the new Hope Station and what we’re doing,” Perry said.
Hope Station is working toward becoming a hub where the community is empowered to solve its own issues and people can find the resources to address their problems.
“We might not be able to answer their questions or solve their problems, but we can provide them with the resources that they need to solve those problems,” Miller said.
For example, Hope Station started hosting staffing agencies in a minijob fair setting each month. The agencies offer both permanent placements and temporary positions that could lead to permanent placement.
“It’s important that our adults know that we’re here for them too, and that our doors are open for them if they need things,” Perry said.
Miller brings experience with Dress for Success to her new role at Hope Station, and knows how important it is for people to have the proper clothing for a job interview. In the future, they will be able to provide that thanks to a connection to a tuxedo store in Reading that was closing and Classic Drycleaners, which donated 10 bags of clothing that had been left behind by customers who failed to pick it up.
Other workforce development initiatives are on the horizon, but this new focus on adult programming and services doesn’t mean there will be changes to the children’s programming that has become a staple of Hope Station since its founding.
“The kids’ programs are great and we love doing those, but we want to do more adult programs as well,” Perry said.
The challenge for the agency is to find the funding to support such initiatives. That’s why they recently launched the Give Hope campaign with the goal to raise $25,000 by the end of the year.
Miller said Hope Station receives program-specific funding, but that sometimes results in one program being fully funded while another comes up short. The Give Hope campaign is an effort to bring in unrestricted funds to help the organization “redevelop, redesign and create more programs,” she said.
If the campaign reaches its goal, children in Hope Station’s programs will have the chance to throw a pie in the face of Miller as well as other staff members and volunteers.
Taytum Robinson-Covert, a 10th-grader at Carlisle High School, shared her thoughts about participating in Hope Station’s programs as part of the campaign. She has most recently participated in the organization’s youth leadership program, which has taught her to advocate for equal rights, accomplish goals, offer community service and learn about Carlisle’s social and racial history.
“I feel like the work and love put into Hope station makes a safer and closer community. This program has given me so many more connections and exposure to the inner workings of what goes on in Carlisle, something I never would have had if Hope Station wasn’t a part of this town. To me it is, as to many others, a second home where no one is judged and all are welcome. I am so proud to be a part of the role that Hope Station plays in our community,” she wrote in Hope Station’s fundraising letter.
The Give Hope campaign continues through Dec. 31, and more information can be found at www.hopestationcarlisle.org.