The inspiration of what would become Fort Bend Hope began as a mission of Faith United Methodist. Out of a 2013 Wednesday morning Bible study, God inspired us to reach out within the “shadow of our steeple” to the underserved community around us. What that would look like though, would take time to discover. There was a desire to create multi-generational change for the community by providing a hand up for those who need it and not merely a handout. For the first few years, this took on different looks. It began with backpacks full of food for school-aged children to be able to eat over the weekend. From there, it included in-school mentoring at Jackson Elementary, community meetings in local coffee shops, hosting an outdoor summer reading camp, and canvasing the neighborhood to see what needs there were. There was real skepticism from the members of the community as they said others had promised help before, but they always faded away. We were committed to be different. We were committed to last.
While we believed we were doing good and impactful work with all these things, our various experiences led us to focus solely on education as it is the greatest driver to impact multi-generational change. We took the next step in our journey in 2016 when we formally incorporated Fort Bend Hope as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; however, we still did not have a home. That began to change in March 2017 when an unoccupied former restaurant was purchased and donated to Fort Bend Hope. While a lot of work needed to be done before we could move in, we felt the first event that should take place there should call back to our original calling from God. We held a candlelight prayer service over the building asking God’s blessing on it and our mission. After several months of renovation, Fort Bend Hope moved into its new home at 927 3rd Street in Rosenberg, Texas in October 2017. This was an important step for us as it reinforced the commitment which we made years ago to be different, to last. We were not a visitor in the community any longer. We now had a home.
Initially, we were going to begin with just an after-school program, but our experience at Jackson Elementary showed us that adult English classes were greatly needed as well. Many of the students at Jackson Elementary come from homes where English is not the primary language if it is spoken at all. Many of these parents could not participate in their child’s education because of the language gap. We resolved to address this through English as Second Language classes. This adaptability to the changing needs of the community is something that would arise again as we have since added citizenship classes, GED classes, and created a virtual learning center during the pandemic. We are committed to this community, and we are committed to adapting to what the future brings. We will continue to meet the needs that arise as we strive to meet our mission of restoring hope by empowering families through education.