Paula Robinson

AUTUMN OWENS/WD PHOTO

Center of Hope Chief Executive Officer Paula Robinson gave a presentation about the organization at the Rotary Club of Weatherford meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Center of Hope Chief Executive Officer Paula Robinson was Tuesday’s guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Weatherford meeting and discussed some of the programs the non-profit offers.

“I believe the Center of Hope is kind of the catalyst to help more organizations work together,” Rotary President and Center of Hope board member Joe Wilkinson said. “I think it’s important for all organizations to work together and make connections between organizations.”

Center of Hope assists individuals living in Parker County to equip and empower them to live a successful, joy-filled life.

“For us, success is different for every person. What success is to me may be quite different than it is for a family that grew up economically disadvantaged, but it doesn’t make it any less successful just because it’s different. It’s not what we think people need, it’s about what they think they need, so being more open to working with people and helping them step towards what really feels right to them,” Robinson said. “We feel like joy comes from knowing Christ and we are a Christian organization and we don’t ever want to back down from that, but we don’t force it on anyone.”

Robinson said the organization has broken down its strategy into three categories: Basic assistance, education and career development and as an organization being community catalysts.

“We have between 550 and 600 different families that come to the center every month and 46.7 percent of the people that come in that door every month are not getting groceries, they’re coming for education needs,” Robinson said. “We have numerous programs and I think it’s an evident outcome that people are changing, people are growing and that people do want more than just a hand out.”

Robinson highlighted the Careers NOW courses and the Adult Basic Education program.

Careers NOW is a construction program where participants acquire skills and graduate to start a career in the industry. So far, Center of Hope has had 30 graduates from the program and has had some hired by JRJ Construction, Phoenix Construction and Schwob Building Company.

The Adult Basic Education program helps participants acquire and improve their basic skills necessary to become self-sufficient and productive members of the community. The elements include literacy and practical arithmetic development, which are taught by tutors on a one-on-one basis. There are a total of five classes, two math, two reading and a basic English class.

“If you’re willing, there’s opportunity for much more than just a minimum wage job and I don’t mean to put down any of those minimum wage jobs because we need them, but if you’re working making $8 to $10 an hour, you can’t support a family and you can’t support yourself on that,” Robinson said.

With the construction of a new building nearing completion, Robinson said they’re close to their fundraising goal to be debt-free and will be holding its 20/20 Vision: An Evening with Center of Hope event from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 7 at New River Fellowship Church in Hudson Oaks.

“We are planning on moving in [to the new building] the first two weeks in January and hope to open the doors on Jan. 13, 2020. Right now, God has brought in $4 million for this project, it’s amazing. We still need $1 million to finish and be debt free and I hope by the time we move in that’s where we’ll be,” Robinson said. “I’m so excited because I’m really pushing this community catalyst strategy, it’s just so important for where we are right now as an organization and God has blessed us. We just live in an amazing place where people are willing to give and support and want to help.”

Robinson said their organization is currently working under five rooftops and with the move to the new building on Clear Lake Road in Weatherford, will be able to have everything under one roof.

Center of Hope has more than 3,600 volunteers and provides 25,000 services each year.

“I’ve been a champion for Center of Hope for a number of years. The one thing that it does that you just don’t often see a charitable organization do, it provides a need and then it gives an opportunity for a person to rise above that need and that’s why it’s been so phenomenal,” Center of Hope board member, Rotary Club board member and First National Bank President Lin Bearden said. “We all know the reasons why Center of Hope is so wonderful, but when you’re on the board — and I’ve watched for over a year now — the way they regard those dollars that are donated are so, so affable. Center of Hope is effective with the money that’s given to them.”

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

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