Our Tax Volunteers Have Saved N Memphis Almost $3 Million!

April 09, 2015

2015 VITA (3)God is Good – and so are our faithful VITA Volunteers!

Oasis just wrapped up its tax filing outreach for the year…another great year of very tangible impact in families lives! This year the team filed 112 tax returns, requiring 203 volunteer man-hours, and saved people $242,204 this year alone in tax credits and filing fees! That means donating a lot of Saturdays to faithfully show up week after week to file taxes!

This team is a humble/faithful group that has been serving the community for 9 years … NINE years! Their wonderful leader over that time has been Doug Edwards. His commitment, faithfulness, and servant’s heart has been a powerful witness for Christ proving that helping people with their taxes is way more than a love of numbers … it’s a ministry of love. This year Vikki Coker helped to share the 2015 VITA (1)load and her service has been greatly appreciated!

Over the past 9 years this awesome team has filed a total of 1,572 returns and saved low income families approximately $2,713,000 to date!

We do have a prayer request: that God will provide good leaders to take this outreach into the future, as Doug looks forward to new opportunities going forward.

We are so thankful for this ministry affecting people’s lives personally and economically…and for the wonderful people God has used to make it happen!

-Terry

Urban and Suburban Youth Unite Monthly to Serve Others

April 08, 2015

high-five-175x175Throughout the existence of Oasis of Hope we have made it a tradition to take our urban youth groups to the services at Hope Church so that they can experience and encounter God in a way that they might not be accustomed to, as well as to begin bridging the gap between Hope Church in the suburbs, and Oasis of Hope in the inner city.

Now that our youth are getting to know each other, we thought it was time for our combined teens to go out and serve Memphis together in hopes of increasing awareness at the needs everywhere around our city, and also to encourage deeper relationships between the students in both urban/suburban groups.

So, starting in April, we are scheduling monthly youth service projects to partnering organizations like Habitat for Humanity, S.O.S., Mid-South Food Bank, and serving the homeless in North Memphis.

For this month’s service project, on April 11th, we will go to Morris Park and hand out lunches and personal care products to the homeless. If you would like to donate to this project, we will need the following items:

-toothbrush/holder
-toothpaste
-lotion
-shampoo/conditioner
-soap
-face towel/wash cloths

Eventually, the relationship between our two groups will be more than just service projects; hopefully, each group can attend the other’s weekly program a couple times throughout the year. Our ultimate goal is that the students will form lasting relationships that transcend stereotypes.

PARTICIPANTS: Jr. High Youth from Oasis or Hope Church
DATE: Various Saturdays
TIME: 11am-12:30pm
PLACE: Various locations to be announced each month
REASON: To bond urban/suburban youth groups and focus on a common denominator of serving others

-Jasmine Martin, Middle School Youth Developer

Put your Faith in Action with the City of Memphis April 25th!

April 07, 2015

faith-in-action-100x116Join Mayor Wharton and Oasis volunteers as we make history a second year in a row by participating in the largest city clean up in the country on Saturday, April 25th together! Our team will focus on the Bickford/Caldwell area in N Memphis. Read on to see how to register!

Preach the Gospel at All Times … When Necessary Use Words -St. Francis of Assissi2014-4-Faith-in-Action-web2

Something exciting is happening in Memphis on Saturday, April 25th! Join in and be a part of history!!

Faith in Action: Memphis Cleanup 2015 is a project initiated by Mayor Wharton to help clean up the City of Memphis. Years ago, Memphis was always being recognized for its cleanliness and always held an annual event called CleanUP, PaintUP, FixUP in which volunteers and school kids from all over the city came together to clean up the city. This Faith in Action Event this year is similar but with a different name.

The Mayor is hoping to have the largest ever clean up project for a second year in a row … not just in Memphis, but in the country!

He is hoping that at least 300 organizations will sign up and that more than 15,000 volunteers will participate some time during the project week to help. Teams and individuals can register here to get involved. Hope Church will have two teams:

1) Oasis of Hope, which will focus around the Bickford Community Center, and
2) Hope Presbyterian–Urban Ministry–will focus around the Firehouse at Faxon/Decatur2014-4-faith-in-action2-web

If you would like to participate, please register here and let us know you’re coming. You can choose between two time slots: 10-12pm or 12:30-2:30pm. Lunch for all will be served at 12:30pm. Then, you just need to show up on Saturday, April 25th! Note – light refreshments will be served.

If you would like more information regarding this ministry please call at 654-2863 or email Tori. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Support Our Local Schools by Serving as TCAP Proctors

April 06, 2015

student-taking-test-100x116 One of the best ways we can help our North Memphis students succeed is by supporting our neighborhood schools!

The following two partnering schools are asking for volunteers to be present in each classroom while they administer TCAP and SAT tests:

Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary, April 28-30 & May 5-8. Just 2 hours in the morning is all it takes (show up at 845a … monitor from about 9:00-11:00am). Contact Kathleen for details.

Humes Middle School, April 27-May 8. Choose time slots that are convenient for you (show up as early as 7:15am…monitor slots between 8:00am-12:00pm). Contact Jasmine for details.

Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Mentors, Mentees, and Neighbors Doing Life Together

April 05, 2015

2015-ben-and-jessica100x116Ben and Jessica are just volunteers from Christ City Church with a passion for North Memphis and two VERY BIG hearts.

A few years ago they got involved with the Oasis Bike Shop ministry and since then have made it their mission to connect inner city kids from Oasis of Hope with volunteers ever since. Recently, they have been holding a bi-weekly potluck to encourage fellowship together between our middle school Life Builders kids and mentors, as well as Bike Shop volunteers and the kids they mentor as well. Anyone is welcome to join in on the fun:

We would love other folks from Oasis or from Hope join us if they are ready to love and engage these kids.  We have been praying for more folks; we could love them more effectively if we love them together.

WHO: You … just bring a dish … but contact me (Jessica) to make sure we are still on schedule
WHAT: Mentors/Mentees/Neighbors doing life together
WHEN: We meet the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 1pm-ish
WHERE: 225 Angelus Street, please RSVP to Jessica
WHY: Our purpose is to “follow Jesus in a genuine, mutually transforming love of our neighbors.” (Sherman Restorers of Hope) The potlucks on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month have given us another opportunity to develop deeper life-on-life relationships.  The young people have opened up, asked profound questions, and shared a part of their stories and personalities that we hadn’t known before.  Folks from Oasis ministries and from our church and neighborhood have gathered to share love and time and support to the youth and it’s been wonderful.  We’d love to have more folks join in. The kids need all the love they can get. Contact Jessica@oasisbikeshop.com for details.

-Jessica

We Often Ask: Are we making an impact? Let’s Ask Nisha …

April 04, 2015

neshiaGalatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 Corinthians 15:58- Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Questioning the Work

Doing youth outreach ministry can be a very difficult work, but doing youth outreach ministry in “the Hood” can be like a triathlon! There are many things that make it a very heavy and demanding work. I have days when families call me because they have no lights, out of work dads asking for help making job resumes, kids asking for advice for their “friend” who often cut themselves and they don’t know if their lives are worth it. Some days I’ve spent taking care of teens that got kicked out of their homes. I spend so much time planning trips, running programs, writing lessons, training volunteers, visiting parents, working with the community schools, and having endless amounts of meetings, that I begin to wonder if all this being busy is worth it? There is nothing heavier than the question, “Are we making an impact for Jesus?” I’ve struggled with if we are really helping people to come to know the Lord and to live out their faith.

Unexpected Encouragement from ‘Nisha

After a long Thursday, we were dropping kids off from our Life Builders mentoring program. As we arrived at a young lady’s home named Antwanisha, she became hesitant to leave the van. She began to say that things that I didn’t anticipate. I expected her usual “bye, Coach!” But I saw she had something on her mind.

‘Nisha opened her mouth to say that her life began to change since she began attending our programs.

She told me that she now reads her bible and prays more than she ever has before. I asked her what made her change. She answered me by saying “ You guys.” She went on to say being around everyone at Life Builders has shown her that she can live different. She said that her new friends and mentors are teaching her how to live for God. She then hoped out the van and said “bye, Coach!” just like nothing happened. Her words of encouragement breathed new life into me in an instant! God used her to remind me that work in the Lord is never in vain! I’m so thankful for the calling God has given me! God has been very kind to give me the encouragement I need to not give up on the youth and families I serve.

-Martell Hixson, Oasis Youth Developer

Oasis Bike Shop Helps Kids Earn Bikes, Teaches Mechanics

April 01, 2015

oasis-bike-shop-collage-500Oasis Bike Shop is expanding! This growing ministry is now offering the following opportunities to get involved:

Tuesdays 10a-2p Open Shop
Wednesdays 4-6p After-School Bike Program
Thursdays 10a-2p Open Shop
Mechanics Training – Hours vary

Check out the Bike Shop page for a current list of upcoming events and get involved with us!

Come be a part of the good things happening here! We need more safety instructors, mentors, and mechanics. Instructors and mechanics both require training. Mentors are interviewed prior to start. Contact Jessica to get involved!

Currently, the Oasis Bike Shop has seven young men from the inner city currently working through the Apprentice Mechanics Program where they are being trained in bicycle repair, safety and mechanics … all skills that may come in handy for either their personal health, or a possible career path someday.

In addition to learning the how-to mechanics of bike repair, local youth can also get involved in the Oasis Bike Shop Earn-a-Bike program by volunteering, learning, and helping out in the Bike Shop with the end result of earning and selecting their very own bike. While logging their 24 hours, they are learning how to run a small business, being taught how to fix, revive and recycle used bikes, and perhaps most importantly, they are being mentored by a caring adult who is interested in investing in not only their physical health, but also their emotional and spiritual well-being.

Group events are frequently planned to further bonding and to demonstrate what healthy living looks like. Thanks to the exciting growth in Memphis regarding the Greenline and the Hampline, there is a lot of buzz in the biking industry, and specifically in North Memphis.

Additionally, the Bike Shop is partnering with Memphis Leadership Foundation and Community Bikes to help empower the neighborhood biking community through education, safety and training. By working together, we hope to offer more services and to create a buzz about this healthy and fun activity and to make our shop a sustainable ministry that the North Memphis biking community is proud to call their own.

Currently we are open two days a week, but hope to expand our hours in the future. If you would like more information regarding this growing ministry check out the Oasis Bike Shop webpage, or if you would like to get involved, please contact us!

Oasis Family Dinner is this Wednesday, April 15th

March 29, 2015

you're-invited-110x116Who: Families of youth participating in any Oasis of Hope program, mentors and Oasis & Bickford staff
What: Dinner for your whole family on us (it’s free)!
When: NEW DATE is Wednesday, April 15th from 6-7:30pm
Where: Bickford Community Center
Why: To enjoy community fellowship, to honor our participants, and to showcase Oasis programs that can encourage community growth

Families of the youth currently involved in our programs are invited to attend the 3rd Annual Oasis Family Dinner! We would love to treat the whole family to a delicious meal and an entertaining program to celebrate how special you are to us! Mark your calendars and plan to enjoy the sounds of the Angel Street choir, hear a rousing word from staffer Martell, and listen to personal testimonials from students & families who have been involved themselves.

We are looking forward to a fun night of fellowship and mingling, and to inform families of additional upcoming programs/volunteer opportunities we have to invest in more families in North Memphis!

We know that by working together, we will all have a much more profound impact on our community!

If you would like more information regarding this specific ministry, contact Kathleen. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Our Easter Egg Hunt Volunteers are *The BEST*!!

March 29, 2015

Thank you SO VERY MUCH to ALL of our volunteers who braved the record-breaking cold day and STILL showed up for the kids on Saturday!!

Be sure to check out the awesome pictures taken by Melissa Fagan: 2015 Easter Egg Hunt Slideshow

Thanks for making the day such a success!!

How an Old Appliance Can Help Transform a Community

March 17, 2015

2015-1-staff-176x176Oasis Appliance – which started more than 13 years ago when generous Hope Church members asked if they could donate their used appliances and furniture to families in need – has grown into a holistic outreach that helps bring revitalization to our community in a number of ways. It is now its own non-profit appliance and furniture store that is making a significant difference in the community.

So … how can passing on your discards make a ‘significant difference’ in North Memphis? There are 3 clear ways:

Quality/Affordable Product

First, through the generous product donations of individuals and corporations, Oasis is able to offer quality used appliances for less than other stores. Second, Oasis takes the times to test, clean, repair and warranty their products (other thrift stores usually do not have the capacity to do this). This affordability and dependability helps low-income families receive a product they can trust, without going to places like Rent-A-Center and pay multiple times over for the value of a product. Our store is meeting a real and tangible need in the community as evidenced by the number of customers and returning customers who visit our location.

Employment/Job Training

On average, we employ four part-time employees to work in the store. Most of our staff have been chronically underemployed or unemployed. Their job responsibilities range from appliance cleaning and repair, customer service, truck driving (pickups and deliveries), inventory control, customer service, sales and cash register operation. This practical experience is very transferable in the employment market and the vast majority of past employees are currently employed. We consider our training to be a stepping stone for employees to build up their resumes as they become better prepared to find full-time work in the future.

Economic Impact

Oasis Appliance is located in an area of North Memphis that has suffered economic decline for decades. Most of the past businesses have boarded up, been demolished, or moved away. Providing positive economic activity in this community is essential to its health. Over the past 7 years, Oasis’ direct business activity has totaled $337,000. Through a conservative multiplier effect ($ spent in a community turnover multiple times before leaving) of 68%, Oasis Appliance has positively impacted the neighborhood by a minimum value of $566,000!

Summary

The above descriptions and numbers just touch the surface of what is happening through this ministry. Other benefits are that partnering ministries can buy affordable items their constituents need; many prayers have been spoken with customers going through hard times; the redemptive aspect of having a job when one has been so difficult to come by; a location also shared by The Bike Shop Ministry; the good use of a resource (recycling old furniture and appliances) that may have been discarded otherwise…all come together to make this a beautiful, redeeming place that God is using to change lives and transform a community. Where else can so much good be done through the simple act of donating appliances?

If you are interested in supporting this ministry, there are 3 ways to get involved:

1) Donate your used appliance.

Although we have expanded our product stream, there is still more demand than supply and we are always looking for more people and/or partnerships willing to donate to our non-profit (tax receipts provided)! We are especially in need of washers and dryers. If you or anyone you know might be interested in making a donation, you can fill out our online donation request form to schedule a pick up. We generally arrange pick-ups on Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays. Simply provide us your address and phone number and we’ll gladly remove your unwanted item.

2) Shop in our store.

We are open Tuesday/Thursday from 10am-2pm and Saturdays from 10am-12pm. We are located in North Memphis at 1294 North Thomas Street (click for directions). Phone 901.577.0013.

3) Volunteer in our store.

There is always work to be done! We could use help selling in our showroom, picking up donations, or cleaning appliances. Email Deborah to volunteer or see the Oasis Appliance webpage for more details. Oasis Appliance is just one of the many ministries through Oasis of Hope.

If you would like more information regarding this ministry or to get involved, email Deborah. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

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