Homeless mothers and their children are among the most vulnerable persons in our communities today. Their loneliness and despair stirs the desire of many to give these families a chance at a stable and secure life. However, caring people often admit to feeling ill-equipped to reach out in helpful ways to those who are homeless because many of them also struggle with abuse, joblessness, or addiction. Since 1989, Bridge of Hope has been a simple yet powerful planned ministry of friendship, in which church groups and other volunteers are mobilized to help reach the homeless that are hurting in their own community.
Ruth Weaver is a distinguished volunteer for the Bridge of Hope. Her volunteer efforts have continuously promoted the mission of the program, which is to end homelessness for women and children. The program partners with trained mentoring groups within congregations to help meet this goal. Bridge of Hope offers a combination of rental assistance; life-skills training and ongoing mentoring relationships to help homeless mothers and their children achieve permanent housing, stability and financial self-sufficiency through employment.
Weaver’s dedication has resulted in the Bridge of Hope tripling in size in the past five years. They went from serving 10 families annually to 30. This rapid growth was in response to welfare reform and the increased interest for church-based involvement in that undeserved portion of the population. She joined the Bridge of Hope in April 1994, and by April 1995, she had been voted President of the Board. She has served in that capacity since, and has modeled and taught the Board how to raise the funds needed to continue to serve this vulnerable population.
Her service has strategically focused on Bridge of Hope’s unique role in bridging the needs of homeless families with those who can address their needs. Their programs offer an effective way for families to break the cycle of homelessness by creating a secure home along with a circle of supportive friends.
Bridge of Hope is a volunteer driven organization. Weaver has contributed and will continue to contribute her best efforts to serve her community through this organization. She has consistently recruited, nurtured, and equipped many of the volunteers who range from previously homeless woman to young executives. Her work has enabled them to raise dollar after dollar so they can continue to serve one homeless family after another. As a result of her efforts, approximately 325 mentors annually give of their time in this “ministry of friendship.” Also, 22 volunteers serve on the Board of Directors.