Each December, I’m overwhelmed by the kindness that pours into our Hope Academy community: presents for families, winter wear for students, generous year-end gifts. Proof that it’s more blessed to give than receive!
If you’re looking for ways to be blessed, and be a blessing this Christmas, here are 7 simple options:
1. Give a book
Each Christmas, every child at Hope receives a gift-wrapped set of books to take home and enjoy, to encourage literacy and foster a love of learning.
2. Read a bookCome to our Christmas Book Giveaway Tuesday, December 18th to enjoy a brief program, then deliver and read books with students. One of the most joyful events of the year!
3. Give a day
Each year, we trust the Lord to provide for the financial needs of our students — including someone to sponsor each day of Kindergarten!
$625 sponsors one day for one class.
119 days left!
4. Pray for Hope
Please pray with us.
So often, we are reminded that only God can heal wounds, change hearts, unite families, strengthen the weary, heal the sick, open the floodgates of provision, and provide divine wisdom. We are daily in need of God’s grace.
5. Give a year
Almost every child at Hope Academy needs a financial Partner to be here — someone who will make a generous gift to help offset the cost per student.
19 students still need a Partner this school year ($3,625/half, $7,250/full).
6. Tell a friend
Spread the word!
If you’re like most of our supporters, you found out about Hope Academy through a friend. Share your favorite video on Facebook, invite a friend to a tour, or contact us to set up a visit.
7. Bless a teacher
Our teachers are the most selfless people I know, pouring themselves out on behalf of their students.
This Christmas, send a note of encouragement to a teacher, or email us about other ways to bless.
Do you ever feel like bad news is increasing at an exponential rate?
Today, I want to share 7 happy headlines from Hope Academy that I think we can all celebrate (click here for the full report):
1. Breaking down barriers
Regardless of income, family composition, ethnicity, or zip code, Hope Academy is increasing access for low-income, urban youth to a remarkable, Christ-centered education.
2. Addressing the heart of the matter
At Hope Academy, we teach to the heart, as well as the head. “The thing I like best about Hope Academy is our teachers and how much they care about us,” said one student.
3. Transforming lives
“I”m not the same person I was two or three years ago, and that’s all because of God and because of my teachers,” shared Andrew (far right).
4. Strengthening urban families
“Coming from a Hispanic background with a single-parent home and a low-income family, there’s a lot of challenges that we face. I believe that God has totally flipped the story around; both my sister and I were awarded full-ride scholarships,” said Jose, Class of 2018.
5. Beating the odds
By God’s grace, we are seeing incredible results. In 2018, our students scored higher than ever on standardized tests in math and reading. 95% of seniors graduated on time, and 94% of all graduates have been accepted to 2- and 4-year colleges–many on full scholarships.
6. Grads giving back
One of our greatest joys is to see our graduates working for justice, economic opportunity, hope for the family, and joy in the community. Graduates are already leading and serving their communities, at Hope and abroad.
Praise God for his incredible faithfulness, and for each teacher, donor, volunteer, and prayer warrior who has made these things possible.
We are still trusting the Lord to provide supporters for 26 of our students this school year. Click to see how you can get in on the joy!
With a grateful heart,
Co-Founder & Head of School
Hard hats are back at Hope–an exciting reminder that, “We’re growing!”
Click below for a brief Growing Hope update:
Right now, African American, Hispanic, and Native American children in Minneapolis have less than a 60% chance of graduating from high school on time.
That makes my heart break.
The good news is, we can all do something about that. But like all love, it will mean sacrifice.
C.S. Lewis said: “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.”
Friends, there is no greater joy than investing in the life of another person–especially a child.
I don’t know what God might be calling you to, but I know there is no better advice than to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Mt. 6:20), and why not start now?
May God give you faith today to love your neighbor, whatever the price may be. I guarantee it will be worth it.
Growing Hope Update–Student Funding Top Priority
Last month, I shared that we’ve hit the homestretch of theÂ Growing Hope Capital CampaignÂ to serve 700 students in Minneapolis, and help plant 10 Hope Academy-style schools nationwide.
And while we are thrilled to Grow and Spread Hope, our number one priority is to faithfully serve the students God has currently entrusted to our care.
- 500studentsÂ are receiving a remarkable, God-centered education at Hope Academy this school year. Praise God!
- 10Â people have already signed up to financiallyÂ Partner with a student, and we’re trusting God for 35 more.
- 3 classes ofÂ Kindergarten needÂ Day SponsorsÂ – 180 each.
- Spreading Hope’s first school plant, Harbor Christian Academy in Houston, TX, welcomed 3 classes of students today!
- Through you, God has provided $7.15 million to Grow Hope in Minneapolis, and $1 million to Spread Hope nationally.
- We’re seeking an additional $1.4 million in above-and-beyond giving by August 2019 to finalize our expansion and make room for more students.
Welcome to the start of a BIG year at Hope Academy.
It’s a joyful dayÂ as we welcome nearly 500 students with big smiles and open arms — each child reminding me just how much God loves the youth of our city.
It’s also a year unlike any we’ve seen.Â By God’s grace, we’re embarking on the final push of theÂ Growing Hope Capital CampaignÂ to serve 700 students in Minneapolis, and help kick-start 10 new schools nationwide.
What does that mean?
More students than ever
35 of whom still need financial Partners, and 3 classes of Kindergarten who each need 180 Day Sponsors.
Hard hats are back!
Phase II of Growing Hope construction will soon begin on a new gym, classrooms, expanded cafeteria, and family ministry space.
Houston, we have take off.
Spreading Hope’s first school plant, Harbor Christian Academy in Houston, TX, opens Sept. 4!
We’re running on grace.
We’re acutely aware of our need for God’s grace each day as we seek to love our students more deeply, be flexible with major construction, and extend grace to one other.
Stay tuned for updates, and ways you can link arms with us in giving, serving, and praying to grow Hope for our city, and beyond.
When I see graduates like Nate coming back to mentor younger students, it makes my heart sing.
Nate is a young man who entered Hope Academy like most middle schoolers: not quite sure of who he could be. Through the deep care of teachers, classmates and mentors, God is developing Nate’s potential as a leader–and opening his eyes to a whole new world of opportunities in the trades.
Soon we’ll be welcoming 500 students whose lives are in the balance, and whose futures are still being written. Would you consider how you might put your arm around one student like Nate this school year?
For many people, summer is a season to relax and head to the lake. At Hope Academy, it’s a tipping point.
MuchÂ researchÂ shows that, while summer learning loss is common, it hits low-income students the hardest–compounding the academic achievement gap year after year.
That’s why Hope Academy requires 4 weeks of summer school for every student, K-8. And it’s making an impact.
Last year, Hope Academy 4th-6th graders made slight gains in math and reading from May to October, while national averages show students backsliding in both subjects.
In addition to more time on task in math and reading, summer school offers our students a rich variety of opportunities to grow through hands-on learning and exploration.
“Summer is an extra special time to enjoy fun things like field trips, more exploratory projects and focused learning modules in the classroom,” says 1st grade teacher Mrs. Look.Â “I love the extra time with the students!”
In short, summer school is a game-changer for our students.
Thank you to every teacher, parent, volunteer, and donor who helped to make this year’s summer school possible–and a special thanks to our partners at Inverted Arts, Junior Achievement BizTown, and the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation for their generous hand in its success.
There is an undeniable grace over the Class of 2018.
God has restored lives that appeared lost to gangs and drugs. He has softened hearts that seemed hardened beyond repair. For children the world calls fatherless, poor, and disadvantaged, He has cast a greater vision for a hopeful future.
“There is so much that we have learned as a class, but the one thing that God has shown us that no other being, idea, or person could show us better, is humility. This is how we should live, with humility, understanding first that God is in control of every situation, and enabling His plans to take control of our lives.”
– Kenneth Granados, Class of 2018
Kenneth Granados, ActSix recipient
Taron Busby, Summer Bridge recipient
- Kenneth Granados, a first-generation college student, received a four-year, full-tuition, full-needÂ ActSixÂ scholarship to attend the University of Northwestern-St. Paul.
- Taron Busby was awarded a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Augsburg University through their Summer Bridge program.
- Jose Castillo, a first-generation college student, received a highly-competitive, four-year, full-ride scholarship throughÂ QuestBridgeÂ to attend Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Other graduates are pursuing employment, community and technical colleges, internships, missions, and four-year universities.
Thank you forÂ your supportÂ in making hope happen. By God’s grace, it is making a life-changing difference for our students.
This month, Hope Academy students Jose Castillo, Tian Elder, and Kenneth Granados were each awarded full-tuition, full-need, four-year college scholarships through the Act Six program for emerging urban leaders.
Jose Castillo, Hope Academy Class of 2018, will attend the University of Northwestern-St. Paul (UNWSP) this fall. Jose is considering becoming a physician assistant (PA). “I want to use my money wisely and bless others like I’ve been blessed.”
Kenneth Granados, Class of 2018, UNWSP. Kenneth is pursuing nursing and missions. “I’m nothing but grateful.”
Jose is the second in his family to receive this scholarship. His sister Shania, who graduated from Hope in 2015, is currently a junior at Northwestern.
“As Latinos raised by a single mom in an urban setting, the chances of both my sister and I going to college — let alone receiving full rides — was really small,” said Jose. “But God made it happen.”
These students are soon to join Hope Academy’s 81 graduates who together have received millions of dollars in college scholarships.
More importantly, though, I am so encouraged by the spiritual maturity and perseverance these young men demonstrate. To see our students seeking God in trade school, college, employment, and family gives me great hope.
On behalf of Jose, Tian, Kenneth, and their families, thank you to each person who hasÂ volunteered, prayed, andÂ financially supportedÂ their flourishing at Hope Academy. You are making a world of difference.