Renovations Enrich “Welcome!” at The Hope Center
In January, The Hope Center began phase one of its long-awaited renovation plans to improve the appearance and functionality of the building.  New flooring was installed in the Gathering Room (the sanctuary of the former church), where the stage area was also reconstructed and redesigned.

Eileen Wilson, Director of The Hope Center, says this first upgrade is but one of many that will take place over the coming year.  “That every visitor – whether be they a volunteer, a refugee, migrant or neighbor – have an excellent experience of welcome when they enter The Hope Center is our main goal.   Through its physical presence, we want The Hope Center to communicate to everyone who enters that they matter, that they are worth our very best and that they belong here,” Wilson said.

A very special thanks to the Albert M. Higley Company for donating general contracting services on this project, as well as many of Higley’s contracting partners that are donating labor and materials. Higley’s Cory Schiebel, a long-time supporter of BHITC’s, deserves a standing ovation for donating his time as project manager, as does Mary McHugh and the family of Matt and Deb Crawford, for helping to secure needed funds.

In This Together!
C.S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”  Finding commonality and encouragement with others who’ve shared similar experiences of difficulty are key to overcoming challenging seasons in life.

That’s one of the many truths being imparted through a new initiative this year at The Center.  Thanks to the generous support of CareSource Foundation and Three Arches Foundation, The Center has launched several groups of 6-10 refugees who now meet regularly to discuss in their first language the difficulty of adjusting to life in Cleveland after experiencing so much personal loss and adversity.  The groups are helping these resilient survivors make plans for the future and their wellbeing. The new initiative includes access to professional counselors at Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services for those who need it.

Former Bhutanese/Nepali refugee who is now a US Citizen, Ganesh Pradhan (right), serves as one of the group facilitators. “These groups have been a real blessing to my community,” says Pradhan. He’s already receiving feedback from his all-male group of participants who started meeting early in 2020.  “I feel supported to make changes and share my experiences with others,” said one man. Another said that the group reminded him of an important adage about the power of community: “One hand cannot produce sound. You need two hands to clap!” BHITC couldn’t agree more!

New Computer Lab Eliminates ‘Digital Divides’
Whether it’s seeking employment, completing school assignments or staying in touch with loved ones who live far away, access to technology (computers, the internet) is essential.  Yet, for many low-income households, including many refugee families, such reliable and consistent access is a “digital divide” that hinders their resettlement. Thanks to a recent grant from Legacy Collective, a nationwide giving circle started by author Jen Hatmaker, BHITC is doing something about that for the international newcomers its serves.  Later this year, a Digital Learning Lab will be installed at The Hope Center to bless and empower these communities that BHITC serves.

The new and secure space will be constructed on the Center’s first floor and include computers, printers, presentation and video-conferencing equipment, and access to some of the fastest internet speeds in the neighborhood!

Thank you, Legacy Collective, for making equitable access to technology a priority with BHITC!

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