Hope Chest becomes reality after years of planning

05/27/2014 9:21 AM

05/27/2014 9:22 AM

Rarely, if ever, do things go according to plan.

Paula Robinson, Chief Executive Officer for Parker County Center of Hope, knows that better than anybody.

More than 10 years ago, long-range goals were being made by the then newly-formed institution which included a variety of opportunities and services to help those in need break the cycle of poverty in Parker County.

On May 13, Robinson told the Rotary Club of Weatherford, that one of those goals was about to become a reality in the creation of an upscale resale store called the Hope Chest.

“Through the years, our programs have gotten stronger and we added more services; we’ve experienced a lot of internal growth and the community support has been wonderful,” Robinson said. “We just never got around to the Hope Chest.”

She said last summer, she had been speaking a lot about it when a Center of Hope board member asked her what the hold up was.

“It stunned me,” Robinson said. “I guess maybe I was scared, so I began to pray about it.”

Robinson said she had gotten to a peaceful place and said, “God I am willing, but you know I can’t do it, I know I can’t do it, so it’s really up to You to make it happen.”

As summer ended and the Center of Hope prepared for its 10th anniversary celebration in November, Robinson received a call from a woman regarding a business opportunity. But it wasn‘t until after the celebration, and the persistence of the woman calling, that Robinson sat down with Michelle Rivera who wanted to join in with the Center of Hope to create a upscale resale store.

Robinson said she was, once again, “stunned.”

So beginning the first week in June, tentatively, the Hope Chest will open its doors to the public. It’s main purpose? To provide paid internships to students who have participated in the organization’s Education and Career Development program knows as Jobs for Life.

“Qualifying students will gain valuable work experience while continuing to work closely with their job coach at the Center,” Robinson said. “After six months, our interns will be ready to move into regular employment and begin a new career with hope for a better tomorrow."

Rivera, experienced in retail management, will manage the store.

“I feel like everything I’ve done for the last few years has prepared me for what I am about to get to do now,” she said. “This store is going to be amazing.”

The Hope Chest, located at 1020 Fort Worth Highway, is a 5,000 square foot store offering gently-used clothing for men, women and children, as well as home decor items and furniture.

“The Hope Chest is a unique retail establishment; not only does the shop provide job-training opportunities for Center of Hope students, but all proceeds benefit Parker County families struggling with poverty,” Robinson added. “It feels wonderful to see this happen and the lives it will impact.”

The Hope Chest is open to everyone to shop and to donate. Store hours 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday- Saturday. For more information or to find out how you can donate, visit www.thehopechestresale.com.

About Center of Hope

Center of Hope is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to helping others break the cycle of poverty in Parker County by focusing on relationships and accountability. Through short-term crisis assistance, families in need can receive groceries, hot meals, as well as financial and medical assistance. For long-term solutions, the Education and Career Development program offers classes that give students educational opportunities and empower them to break the cycle of poverty.

For more information about Center of Hope, visit www.centerofhopetx.com

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