Update on Hope Rising
Hope Rising continues in its mission to develop loving foster homes for domestic, minor youth in Texas who have been exploited through commercial sex-trafficking. These youth have been through massive trauma and offering them a home in a stable family setting is an effective first step on their journey to hope and healing. This has been a tumultous year but one of great progress and hope.
This month at Hope Rising has been a full one. We started off with a Christmas party for our foster families at one of Brenham's church fellowship halls. The youth enjoyed making Christmas-time activity kits for children at Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital and then were surprised by a visit from Santa who wore a big black cowboy hat for his visit to Texas. After Santa read aloud a story about the meaning of Christmas, the youth received gifts generously supplied through community donations.
We were back at in Brenham on Wednesday to present the Brenham Chamber of Commerce members information from an undercover officer about how to protect children from being set up for trafficking through false relationships developed online. The main take-away message was that it is critical for parents of children at all ages to be engaged in and aware of any activity their children are taking part in online. The officer spoke about how strategic and calculating predators are and that the first defense against them is letting your children know you love them, so they do not seek a “parent” relationship through their phones.
Our presenter also spoke in the evening to the newly-formed Hope Rising Young Professionals group in Houston.
The Young Professionals offer educational opportunities to the community and promote third-party events that raise funds for Hope Rising. We are grateful to this group of under 40-year-olds who choose to spend their time, talent and treasure helping youth in our care. We are excited to be able to share opportunities with you in 2022 to support Hope Rising through activities organized with our Young Professionals.
On another positive note, we were so pleased this year to introduce Equine Therapy with a licensed mental health therapist to our youth in care. Collaborating with a certified Equine Specialist, the Therapist plans sessions for the youth and horse using the “request model.” The horse and youth actively take part to the level they wish to because neither is coerced or forced to engage. A remarkable trust builds between horse and human, and the youth begins to be able to transfer the feelings of trust to other humans.
Our goal is to offer Equine Therapy to each at-risk/formerly trafficked youth in care on a schedule designed around their therapeutic needs. As you can imagine, this level of service is only possible due to the generous donations we receive from individuals and organizations.
Hope Rising is still embedded in the Washington/Travis/Brazoria County area with its foster home network and close connection to many churches in the area. We moved our offices to Houston to be closer to the professional staff needed to manage the youths’ care and to be close to key funders. However, our service focus stays centered around the heart of Texas.
All of us at Hope Rising wish you a wonderful time at Christmas with family and friends, and we ask for your prayers for our youth and all the other youth who have yet to be recovered from their traffickers. Please also say a special prayer for our foster parents who have opened their homes and hearts to Texas’ children and continue to offer them much needed stability on their journey toward healing.