News / Updates

After the Flood: A Reflection by Executive Director Loren

One thing that you learn living in Louisiana is that weather is the great equalizer. Weather doesn’t care what neighborhood you live in, the color of your skin, or if you’ve been in church or the bar lately. 

It also has a way of teaching us we are all equal. Making those of us not affected by the devastation grow in empathy for those that are. When these times are upon us in Louisiana we get to see the best in each other while working together to overcome the worst of times.

As schools were canceled many students in Opelousas were excited to sit at home and enjoy the time off.  Learning about the devastation surrounding our parish and region I told a group our High School students I wanted to go and help. Without hesitation they said they wanted to come. I told them to organize a text message and see who wanted to come that we would meet at 8:00am and I wouldn’t wait around for them.

The next morning 10 of our students arrived on time and worked eagerly serving families that lost everything in the flood. As we walked carrying the soggy belongings of our neighbors to the street, strangers turned into family and we felt for a moment what our brothers and sisters were experiencing.

Each evening I would offer the option for our kids to come again in the morning. But, only if they wanted to work. And, each day they came. Five days in a row they served. And each day they were an encouragement to everyone, even inspiring friends to come and help. 

Many people look at today’s generation with disdain. I look at our students with Hope. And that’s what the families felt when our kids served at the moment of their greatest need. To see our kids have that experience knowing that it will stay with them for the rest of their lives makes me proud. And, it helps me believe even more that Love Changes Everything.

Photos from the Daily World article which can be found here.

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Meet our 2015 Agents of Hope

The Agents of Hope program is HFO's creative staffing solution providing 10 high school juniors and seniors with a paid internship and HFO with tutors for our younger kids.  This program is truly a partnership where Love is changing everything.  Meet our 2015 Agents below (click the image to zoom in on the image): 


Remembering Jaylin

Remembering Jaylin

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/72576301[/vimeo] 

With huge and heavy sadness, the community of Hope for Opelousas celebrates the life of Jaylin Levier, and grieves his loss. Also known around our tutoring tables and basketball courts as “Pop,” Jaylin was the kid everybody loved—the staff clowned along with his humor, and his competitive spirit sparked everyone on to better work, better play. It feels too soon to say goodbye, and to be honest, we don’t want to.  It is difficult to try to remember Jaylin’s presence, his spunkiness and sensitivity, when we still feel like we will see his huge smile and soft eyes around HFO.

While it is easy to think of fun times—Jaylin dancing with his cousins, racing to define vocabulary words, cheering on the Tigers—HFO also wants to share some different and very special moments. Times when Jaylin joined in Bible studies and thought deeply about his faith and community that we will treasure, knowing his heart was being pulled toward heaven and he was listening. Just this summer, Jaylin traveled with us to a Christian sports camp, and responded to the gospel message with great intensity. How precious to witness that hunger, joy, and tenderness. Scripture affirms this time of grief, telling us “precious are the deaths of saints;” we are deeply grieving the loss of this incredible life and lift the Levier family up in our prayers. But with equally deep gratitude we celebrate the privilege of knowing Jaylin, loving him, being loved by him, and trusting that he is now laughing and clowning with our Father.

 

Love Changes Everything!

News Update #1

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