Congratulations to Hope Services, a nonprofit in Wesley Chapel, for being applauded by Avalon Park Wesley Chapel.
Hope Services is a vocational service organization that seeks to find jobs for people living with disabilities. The nonprofit got its start in 2003, when executive director Cindy Bray was helping her disabled daughter, Danica, find employment.
“I went with Danica to a program helping people with disabilities find employment,” says Bray, “The program leaders thought I was Danica’s job coach. Long story short, I became their first job coach and worked there for almost two years, and then was encouraged to start my own nonprofit.”
And thus, Hope Services was born.
Bray and her staff offer many tools and resources for their clients, such as vocational and worksite evaluations, work incentives planning and assistance, work readiness/pre-placement training, on-the-job training, employment and supported services, and mental health counseling.
“The first thing we do is get to know our clients, understand their abilities and interests/goals for employment,” says Bray.
One of Bray’s favorite success stories is actually with her first client— a young gentleman who was soft-spoken with broken English, walked with crutches and living with polio.
“He was my toughest client, yet I was determined that if I could find a successful job for him, then I was on the right path,” says Bray.
Bray ended up finding him a job at a factory that produces parachutes for skydiving. The young man’s new job was to burn the threads of the harnesses once they were completely sewn. After he was hired, he looked at Bray and said “I knew you wouldn’t give up on me!”
“That is all it took to know I am making a difference in the lives of others,” says Bray.
From that experience, Bray learned that there is a job out there for everyone.
One of the most rewarding parts of Bray’s job is her weekly staff meetings. Every time her team meets, they share their “3:13 story,” which is a reference to the Hebrews 3:13 passage: “Encourage one another daily.”
“We aren’t able to get together daily, but when we are together, each member takes three minutes and thirteen seconds to share a success story. We either clap, or cry, in joy,” says Bray.
Bray not being in the field anymore gives her time to plan for the future of Hope Services.
One of those plans includes partnering with the new Wesley Chapel District Parks and Recreation center to start the nonprofit’s first vocational training pilot program this Fall. The nonprofit will have a 1,400-square-foot space with a full industrial kitchen. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they will have trainings to help the clients figure out what career industry they should pursue. The other two days of the week will be on-the-job training at local businesses.
Bray expects this program to cost around $75,000 and is always looking for private individuals, businesses and corporations to help support her vision.
If you wish to help support the nonprofit, Bray says you can contribute by working with Hope Services, partnering alongside for employment opportunities, donating, and/or volunteering your time and talents. Hope Services also is need of a van for transportation of its clients for its on-the-job training portion of the vocational training program.
For more information on Hope Services, visit HopeGetsJobs.com.