Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hope is Not a Lullabye, It Is Built One Brick at a Time

A House that Hope Built, 5427 Fannie Street, 75212
Photo Credit: Mark Grace
With all due respect to Emily Dickinson, hope is not the thing with feathers.  And it doesn't "perch" in the soul.  

I've always been troubled by Dickinson's metaphor, never attracted to the idea of a feathery member of the aves class taking up space in my soul.

On the other hand, if I could do justice to hope on a poetic scale, I'd discard Dickinson's ethereal images and I would make of hope something built by the sweat of a human being's brow.  

It would be constructed by dedicated and persistent labor that involved uncommon commitment and empowering collaboration.

Hope might even have a champion like a Chief Executive Officer named Norman Henry, recently honored with the Congressional Recognition Award for his and his company's work. 

Hope would probably look something like the house that Deborah Rideau moved into not so long ago.  She had given up believing that the American dream could come true for her.  If you watch the video below, Rideau will show you as much as tell you why she has become a true believer in the value of hope.  

While you are at it, listen carefully to Francisco Guzman talk about Project Reach and its impact on his life.  It will change your day, maybe even your year.  

The stories come to you courtesy of Builders of Hope CDC whose mission is to be 
"a Christian Ministry transforming Dallas urban areas by building strong families and healthy, safe neighborhoods through discipleship, community pride, and development of quality affordable housing. This mission is driven by four main services we offer:
  1. Affordable Housing (which includes building new homes, revitalization of existing homes, and demolition and rebuilding substandard homes)
  2. Financial Fitness Education
  3. Family Support Services
  4. Community Mobilization"
While we did not qualify to participate in Builders of Hope's affordable housing program, Linda and I were blessed to have BoH build our home just on the edge of its Eagle Ford housing development in West Dallas.  Now I am a board member of BoH, and as I love to say, I am not just a board member, I am a satisfied customer of this remarkable community service agency.

Most of our neighbors have benefited from BoH's intensive first-time home buyer's financial fitness education.  They succeeded in developing their credit to the point that they were able to qualify for a home loan and now live in a community that is bound together by common histories and stories full of hope.  

And collectively, Builders of Hope graduates and home buyers have less than a 2% foreclosure rate.

I am humbled and grateful to call these families my neighbors.  They value their neighborhood, their homes and their community relationships far more than any suburb I've ever lived in.

And every day, as I drive down the street in my neighborhood, I get to see what hope looks like, one beautiful house at a time.

What does hope look like to you? I don't mean in the abstract, but in real human terms.  Leave a comment and share your story!


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