A Fall Fest Twist: 2016 Block Party & Trick or Treat Oct. 29

September 22, 2016

read-to-succeed-spring-breaWe thought this was the perfect year to change things up a bit and to do something a little different … instead of our typical Oasis Fall Festival, we’ve partnered with North Memphis community residents and many of our familiar friends like the Bickford Community Center, Uptown, and Hope Church, in addition to new friends like Hope City Church, the new families moving in to Bearwater Park, and Memphis Habitat!

Although many things will look the same, we are working on several new ideas and will be offering a new location (7th & Unity Lane between Caldwell and Cedar) and providing a Trunk-or-Treat for the kids with tons of candy since we are so close to Halloween!

Please SAVE-THE-DATE for October 29th, 7th & Unity Lane (between Caldwell & Cedar), from 4-7pm. Bring the kids dressed in costumes & plan to attend our Haunted House (no clown costumes please)! Games & doorprizes will be awarded for all ages! Free food! North Memphis residents: Please plan to invite your neighbors!!!

As always, we will need many volunteers and many donations of candy and prizes! Plan to join us and get in on the fun and help us welcome our friends – new and old!

For more information or to volunteer or donate, contact Terry. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and Instagram, and checking our website for detailed information.

Missed Our Build with Habitat? You Have One More Chance!

September 14, 2016

web800Oasis of Hope home building volunteer opportunity: The work is not complete!

The work is not complete!  Even though our friends from all over Memphis and the world spent a week making tremendous progress building 19 homes in the Bearwater neighborhood in August, there is still much work to be done! There is one additional Habitat build opportunity coming up where Hope and Oasis of Hope volunteers can join us in building the remaining four Oasis homes in the Bearwater neighborhood. Thank you for continuing to provide Hope to our Oasis neighborhood and we look forward to hammering with you on the following day:

Click here to register to build from 7am to 1pm on Saturday, October 8th

Building affordable homes is an important step to helping families live stable, healthy, and safe lives, although Oasis of Hope has numerous other ministries and programs as well! If you would like more information on how to get involved with our housing program or one of our many youth programs, community events, businesses, or senior citizen program, check out our website or contact Terry. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates. We’d love to plug you in to this growing and exciting neighborhood!

Thanksgiving Baskets Are Coming! Get One or Give One

September 11, 2016

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving TurkeySlow basted turkeys, mom’s homemade stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, collard greens, pumpkin pie … mmmmm … is your mouth watering yet?

Each year around this time we start taking Thanksgiving Basket orders for anyone living in North Memphis who’d like one. We start by spreading the word among families currently involved in one of our many ministry programs such as: Read2Succeed, Angel Street Choir, Warrior Princesses, Pathfinders (Middle School Bible Study), Life Builders (High School Bible Study), families renting homes in Bearwater Park/North Memphis from us, those involved in our young mom’s ministry, and of course, all of our senior citizens who are involved in our daily program … and beyond!

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor – Proverbs 22:9

Here’s what you need to do to order yours:

Join us in worshiping together from 12:00-1:15pm at Hope City Church (Caldwell-Guthrie School, 951 Chelsea Ave) and then register for your basket at the close of the service Nov. 6 or 13. Cost per basket is $5 (cash only) and will need to be turned in at the time of registration.

Pick up your basket after worshiping with us on Nov. 20 at Hope City Church. We’ll be around from 12-3pm with plenty of time to plan your menu for your holiday feast on Nov. 24th!

If you have extra and would like to donate food for the Thanksgiving Baskets:

Drop-off your donations at any of our Oasis of Hope office locations, or Hope Church in the marked carts located across the campus anytime in November, or just leave them behind your vehicle in the parking lot and we will pick them up while you attend Hope Church services each weekend.

Frozen Turkeys – 12 lb max

Cans (Cases, if possible)
– Green Beans
– Corn
– Peas
– Yams
– Vanilla Frosting
– Cranberry Sauce

Boxes
– Stuffing
– Cake Mix
– Instant Potatoes

Thanksgiving Baskets would not be possible without the generous partnership and teamwork with Hope Church and Hope City and the hundreds of people who graciously share any extras they may have. We are grateful to everyone for their partnerships!

For more information, please call Elle Miller at 901-474-9388 or contact Terry. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and Instagram, and checking our website for detailed information.

Bearwater Park, Oasis of Hope, and Memphis Habitat

September 04, 2016

bwp-collage-2016-8How Oasis of Hope & Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis Came Together on Bearwater Park: A Story of Faith & Why This Nine-Year Project Was Worth the Struggle

By Terry Hoff, Director of Oasis

2001-2006: We as a ministry, reached out and began developing relationships with youth and families living in the old Cedar Court Apartments (now Bearwater Park), which was the largest apartment complex in the neighborhood (18 buildings and 122 units). During those five years, we learned intimately that many of the problems on Seventh Street and our entire community (such as violence, drug use, and rampant gangs) were originating from Cedar Court. In 2006 one of our youth, Lil Van, was shot and killed right outside the complex.

2007: Our youth baseball coach, Mike Timmons (who also worked in real estate investment), saw Cedar Court come up for sale on public auction. He bid on it and won! We then took the biggest leap of faith to-date as a ministry and decided to buy the complex despite being very concerned over the debt we would incur to acquire the property, not knowing our ability to obtain the grant funding necessary to redevelop it. We bought it anyway and Cedar Court was now ours!

2008-2010: We worked tirelessly to rehab the complex – we had countless volunteers (many of you were there!) and more than 30 large construction dumpsters that were filled with sheetrock and debris from the buildings as we hammered, and stripped, and hauled away rubble in hopes of doing the demo grunt-work ourselves. All the while we applied for grant after grant, with no success.

2011: God provided a generous grant through the City of Memphis to get started on the redevelopment! However, it came with a MAJOR string attached: it required new construction, not rehab. I then had the humbling duty of letting all our staff, volunteers, and community know that all their hard work on the complex was now going to be demolished and removed from the site; HARD! God knew better than I did though and new construction would be significantly better for the community in the long-run. In addition to the grant, the City of Memphis came alongside us in partnership by donating the demolition of the old complex. It was exciting!

2012-2013: This first tedious step in being awarded grant money is only a part of the challenge in redeveloping an entire subdivision. Countless meetings with engineers, architects, the developing partner (Promise CDC), city departments, and community gatherings – not to mention the myriad of delays with the demolition and other complicated hoops to navigate – the Phase 1 project seemed like it would never be complete. But thanks to the generosity of many donors, as well as, Hope Church, the 10 housing units of Phase 1 were completed in July of 2013, debt free! Families began moving in!

2014-2015: It was back to applying for more grant applications for Phase 2, but unfortunately the federal government suffered a significant recession and the money for affordable housing wasn’t nearly as available as in the past. We were successful in being awarded a small grant through THDA (Tennessee Housing Development Agency) allowing us to build 4 more homes on the site, as well as, some infrastructure funding through the city.  As grateful as we were for this, it was realistically a drop in the bucket to be able to redevelop the remaining vacant land at the site (80% of the subdivision). As I was becoming resigned to the fact that I would be 91-years-old and still trying to build homes in the subdivision, along comes another blessing to save the day!  Mutual friends at MLB-Uptown LLC connected Oasis with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis to see if there might be a win-win relationship possible.

2016: They were definitely right – Oasis and parent ministry, Hope Church, could not be more delighted to partner with Memphis Habitat and be a part of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project to bring 19 new homes to the community, which will bring us much closer to completing our Bearwater project! To say it is an honor to work alongside these people and this organization is an understatement! God is so good to bring all things together that we had NO power to accomplish on our own. To Him be the glory for all that has taken place and all that will happen in this new place for many families to call home. We look forward to building relationships with the new home-owners who will move in soon and are grateful for all the progress, growth and interest happening in North Memphis!

More opportunities to help build!

Even though we will wrap up building these 19 homes with Habitat this week, Oasis will be building 4 more homes beginning in September and we’d love to have your help! If you missed volunteering this week, you still have an opportunity to grab a hammer and say that you were a part of this transformational project!

Building affordable homes is an important step to helping families live stable, healthy, and safe lives, although Oasis of Hope has numerous other ministries and programs as well! If you would like more information on how to get involved with our housing program or one of our many youth programs, community events, businesses, or senior citizen program, check out our website or contact Terry. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates. We’d love to plug you in to this growing and exciting neighborhood!

Teens From SLA Program Get Offered Part-Time Jobs!

September 01, 2016

SLA-web500I am very proud to say that this year’s Summer Leadership program was a huge success! Summer Leadership Academy (or SLA) is an 8 week leadership development program aimed at high school youth. SLA is designed to help teens grow in their leadership capacity, biblical worldview, workplace competency, and in their social capital. This is achieved through training sessions, exposure outings, and work internships. A recent study out of Chicago showed that that an 8 week paid summer jobs programs for at-risk youth reduced violent crime arrests by 43% over a 16-month period. So we decided to create a space where teens could learn and develop skills called Summer Leadership Academy. This is extremely important because without this type of investment kids who grow up in generational poverty will have a hard time successfully transitioning into the “real world.”

It’s been strange, however, to talk to my teens about the challenges of the “real world.” I know many of the youth I mentor have experienced more trauma in their short lives than most people twice their age. They understand what it means to be poor and to struggle. They know what it means to experience significant loss. They are not afraid of the uncertainties of life, but in fact, they are quite adapted to disappointment. They do however, have many fears. Ironically, my student leaders are often afraid of success. After navigating through life with very little affirmation concerning their ability to impact the world around them, they struggle to believe that their choices can actually lead to significant success in life. They have learned simply to be resilient and to survive.

It’s easy for me to relate to my student leaders. Growing up I didn’t know many successful people. That is why success seemed so unrealistic for me as a teen. It was not until God placed mentors in my life that I made a change. It was the first time I understood that I had talents and gifts that people needed. My mentors helped me to see how I could make an impact on the world around me. They took the time to affirm my gifts and talents. They also leveraged their influence to help me gain opportunities and gave guidance concerning what it took to become successful. In short, my mentors gave me hope regarding what I could achieve in life. I developed a new perspective that allowed me to dream beyond what my underprivileged community had to offer.

SLA has been a way for me to give back to youth in at-risk community much like the one I grew up in. We have sought out partnerships with local businesses like Chick-Fil-A and Oasis Appliance & Home Furnishings to host our teens as summer interns as we provide training and accountability for their work ethic and character. We have raised money from people who believe in what we do to provide work stipends for the teens, so that our student leaders can learn the value earning an honest dollar. We also took the teens on college tours and other exposure trips to help our young leaders discover what they want out of life.

One of the student leaders told me that after our long summer experience that I had become like a father to her and the SLA teens. She said she understood what I was trying to do for them and that she appreciated it.

I could only think how my mentors supported me as a teen and had become father figures in my life. Nothing is more fulfilling than being able to pay forward the gift God gave me in my time of need. I am more convinced than ever that programs don’t change people, but it’s people who change people. Our decisions to invest in the lives of others will bring healing to our communities and also to the world around us. We’d love to have you join us; we need more mentors.

– Martell Hixson, High School Youth Developer

To volunteer or for more information about this ministry, contact Martell. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and Instagram, and checking our website for detailed information.