Over a delicious meal, supporters of Hope Center Indy came together earlier this month for an update on our past, present and future.
On the stage at the front of the room were 115 candles representing the survivors Hope Center Indy has served in the last 6 years, not to mention the hundreds of families served by the David Nolen Pantry of Hope and other programs on campus.
Mary Nolen, Hope Center Indy’s associate director, spoke to the past, saying “We’ve done our research, and tried and errored, and tried and errored, and found what worked well, and have learned so much from each of the women.”
Jenn Starr, the director of Take Heart Residential, Hope Center Indy’s program for sex trafficking survivors, talked about the ways her and her team have improved their program this year. But at the end of the day, she notes their biggest success is assisting survivors in their faith journey. 5w4
“It doesn’t matter if a lady had been in our program for a year, or six months, or two weeks - We do an exit interview with her. She fills out the survey and she is telling me every time that when she was here in this program that she found the Lord. She was reunited with the Lord or she felt the Lord was here. And that’s what it’s all about for us.”
In order to better serve survivors, Hope Center Indy plans to add an emergency housing program in 2024.
Mary shared a quote from Dr. Jeanne Allert, director of the Institute for Shelter Care, that helps explain the need for such a service.
“In working with exploited persons, the idea of being healed or being independent might seem so foreign as to be an impossible barrier. And the proposition that a victim has to commit to the next 12 or 18 months of her life to pursing something she can not even imagine makes the invitation all the more improbable. What we are learning now is that continuum care needs to have a strong front end in the form of emergency shelters.
“We’re learning that many victims need to have multiple encounters on the front end before they will make that hard decision to go into long-term care. She has to believe she has a choice and then muster up the courage to exercise it.”
More information will be provided as plans are finalized. Please keep this endeavor in your prayers.
The most moving moments of the night came when three residents shared their testimonies. These brave ladies, one from Take Heart Residential and two from Hope Community, spoke about how they came to Hope Center Indy and their plans for the future.
A Take Heart Resident, who Jenn describes as an overcomer, said, “Being at the Hope Center has meant so much to me. It means family. It means unconditional love. It means safety. All things I’ve never had before.”