ARMS OF HOPE
A 501 (c)(3) charity helping single mothers in Medina, Texas
BY EMILY LUO & JOANNE YOO
“To transform the lives of disadvantaged children, youth and families by providing hope and support in a nurturing, Christian environment. Reaching generations by helping children and families find a future filled with hope and promise.”--Taken from the website Arms of Hope
Who Are We?
Arms of Hope is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity that supports struggling single mothers and their families in a variety of ways. The number of single mothers is rising to problematic heights, leading to an assortment of other issues. Two separate organizations had consolidated to become the charity, Arms Of Hope, in order to more efficiently provide their services and programs to the community. This association has a couple of programs dedicated to helping the plight of single moms and improving their chances for a bright future. Arms of Hope has been very effective in accomplishing their goals of helping single mothers face any problems that might arise. With a warm, loving environment, this effective charity is targeted towards giving these unfortunate mothers a shot at a more successful and fulfilling life.
What is the issue/cause that your charity supports?
The case of mothers raising their children all by themselves is becoming a huge problem around the globe, and especially in the United States. This dilemma affects our world by either being the cause or effect of higher teenage pregnancy rates, poverty, children brought up badly, etc. These women are much more likely to be inflicted with serious financial, educational, and emotional difficulties. The poverty rate of single mothers is 5 times greater than that of married couples. ACS says that ⅔ of New York’s poor families are headed by a single parent, and ⅓ (36,000) of all NY’s births are by unmarried women! A large contributing factor to single mothers’ considerable likelihood of living in poverty is the fact that they do not possess the support of the more traditional breadwinner, the man/husband/father. Single mother families ($26,000) earn ⅓ the median income of married couples ($84,000). A single mom is less likely than a woman married at first birth to have a high school diploma and/or be employed. 14% of single mothers work full-time, while 55% don’t work at all! Arms of Hope’s loving arms embrace the cause of mothers all on their own in the world.
It would be heartless to forget that single mothers’ children are also greatly impacted by the absence of the customary anchor of the family. It’s sad but true that a majority of American children live part of their childhood without both biological parents. “...children growing up with single parents have an elevated risk of experiencing cognitive, emotional, and social problems.” The quality of single moms’ parenting is usually quite poor, with harsher discipline, more fights and problems between parent and child, and less emotional support. This leads to more exposure to stress at an earlier age. Besides terrible parenting, the kids of single moms are also affected by economic hardship. They can’t afford the materials needed to succeed academically, the latest products needed to have the same status as peer, etc. Ramshackle areas with high crime rates are places many of these kids call “home”. “Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18--a total of about 17.4 million--are being raised without a father and nearly half (45%) live below the poverty line.” If this problem isn't addressed, the outcome will be more female-headed households living in poverty, higher divorce rates, higher unintended birth rates, and much more negative results. We are fortunate to have honorable foundations like Arms of Hope working to prevent such a future. By supporting the issue of struggling single moms, Arms of Hope is also bettering the lives of countless children whose futures would have been dictated by the status of their mother.-Emily L.
How did the organization begin and grow into what it is now?
Arms Of Hope had began and grew into what it is now through an impactful decision of combining two separate organizations into one. Medina Children’s home and Boles Children’s Home had joined together on April 17, 2009. Both facilities had identical missions, programs, and had wanted to accomplish more for their community. At that time, President and CEO Kevin McDonald had said, “We are excited about the potential to help even more children and families in the future by building on our strengths under a strong leadership team.” Both homes merged to form Arms of Hope in order to “achieve efficiency, geographic diversity, increased capacity and additional program improvements and offerings.” With these two facilities united together, this charity has over 135 years of experience in comprehensive residential care programs for children.
The original purpose of the organization has changed immensely from before. Both the Medina Children’s Home and Boles Children’s Home were originally set up as residences for orphans. However, now it has expanded into serving all children and single mother families with residential and outreach programs. Currently, the purpose of Arms Of Hope is to help children and single mother families “avoid homelessness, poverty, abuse, and neglect and by leading them to lives of sustaining and productive citizenship.” “Through its Residential Child Care, Together, College and Career, Right Start, and Outreach Ministry programs, Arms of Hope is committed to providing a safe haven and Christian environment for children and single-mother families.” This foundation has started off as two separate associations that had developed into a charity that will do all they can to support single mother families in areas in Texas.-Joanne Y.
What does your chosen charity do for the community?
Arms of Hope (located in a peaceful campus on 21300 State Highway 16 North Medina, Texas) has a variety of programs that serve the community, specifically single moms and their families. These programs aim to achieve their mission statement: “To transform the lives of disadvantaged children, youth and families by providing hope and support in a nurturing, Christian environment. Reaching generations by helping children and families find a future filled with hope and promise.” Dinners, golf tournaments, auctions, and receptions are the main categories of Arms of Hope’s activities/events; they include the Houston Charity Drive Golf Tournament 2015, San Antonio Reaching Generations Gala & Silent Auction 2015, San Antonio Charity Sporting Clay Tournament 2015. Specific programs that focus primarily on helping single mothers are the Together Program and the Right Start Program, which helps single women prepare for motherhood. “Becoming a mother for the first time can be an intimidating experience even under the best of circumstances.” Now imagine facing that all alone, without emotional support or the financial means to have the birthing done properly. Doubt, fright, and dread could creep into what should be such a joyful, anticipating time. Here is where Arms of Hope steps in to help out members of the community in need of its services. Once the baby’s born, this program even provides the shelter, necessities, and skills to care for it. Its “Right Start Program ensures first time expecting single mothers that they and their baby are loved and will begin their special journey as a parent in a safe and nurturing environment.”
The Together Program “helps motivated single mothers and their children transition into successful, independent futures by providing parenting skills, career training, and a home in a peaceful and safe environment.” Single mothers who are having a hard time providing physical needs such as clothing, shelter, etc. for their children are suitable candidates for this program. Those who are looking for a job or education will find training here so they can go out and carry on independently. Due to the Christian environment, members of the program must be willing to be/become spiritual and join worship. However, the benefits to be reaped are well worth the commitment to religion. Children and their mothers are given a “home and necessities, case management and counseling services...and psychological testing.” Coaching for parenting/life skills and education/trade skills are also offered for the mothers. Children go to a public school system close to the campuses of Arms of Hope. In addition to these amazing programs, Arms of Hope offers volunteer opportunities for people of all ages to help out on short-term mission trips.
How effective is this charity in accomplishing its goals?
Arms Of Hope is very effective in accomplishing its objectives. Based on the children partaking in its programs, 90% of them receive better grades in school than when they first arrived and 33% of them are on Honor Roll. Also, the educational gains of those who participated in the programs this organization offered were 25 GEDS, 4 high school graduates, 5 associates degrees, and 6 bachelors degrees. (Arms Of Hope) A single mother who entered the Together Program of the organization, Jillian, had said, “Arms of Hope provided my family a new beginning and helped me become a successful mother.” (Arms Of Hope) The association, Charity Navigator rates this charity and overall of 3 out of 4 stars or 85.82 out of 100. (Charity Navigator) In addition to that, employees reviewed on the website, Indeed, had given an average of 4 out of 5 stars. (Indeed) Arms of Hope is making a tremendous difference in the large community of disadvantaged single mothers.
This charity is funded by contributions, gifts, grants, and fundraising events. The contributions break down is 9.2% of fundraising events and 90.8% of contributions, gifts, and grants. (Charity Navigator) Of those contributions, 5% are from estates, 6% from other, 11% from churches, 11% from foundations, 29% from thrift donations, and 38% from individuals and corporations.(Arms of Hope). Arms of Hope does not receive any federal or state grants so it mainly relies on individuals, businesses, civic groups, churches and foundations for funding and volunteer support. (Arms of Hope) The expenses breakdown is 7.2% on administrative, 10.2% on fundraising, 82.6% on programs. (Arms Of Hope) Arms of Hope spends most of their money on improving and continuing their various programs. This organization has been very effective in supporting these children and families.
Amato, Paul R. "The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation." The Future of Children. The Trustees of Princeton University, 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
Arms Of Hope. Arms of Hope, 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
"Arms of Hope." Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator, 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
"Arms of Hope United States Employee Reviews." Indeed. Indeed, 2015. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
Badger, Emily. "Aftermath of Single Parenting Lasts Years." SIRS Researcher. ProQuest, 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
Dawn. "Single Mother Statistics." Single Mother Guide. WPQA, 25 Feb. 2015. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
"Medina Children's Home Agrees to Merge with Boles Children's Home." San Antonio Business Journal. American City Business Journals, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
Poverty. N.p.: Greenhaven, 2012. Print.
Welfare. N.p.: Greenhaven, 2012. Print.
Worth, Richard. Poverty. San Diego: Lucent, 1997. Print.