Hope Harbor Interview
We, Ranger Roofing of Oklahoma, local professional roofers from Owasso, Oklahoma, have been taking short interviews with local non-profit and non-governmental organizations to help them with the promotion of their hard work. Those organizations are giving a great contribution to our community so we should all reconsider to help them out in any way or maybe even join some.
One of many local non-profits is Hope Harbor, a DHS licensed residential care facility providing treatment for at-risk teens and their families through its Children’s Home and Academy. They work exclusively on private donations and they would definitely be more than glad to get some additional financial support. Read more about their work, motivations, and struggles in the interview below.
To begin with, we would like you to briefly tell us about your organization
Hope Harbor is a DHS licensed residential care facility providing treatment for at-risk youth and their families. We operate solely on private donations. We serve Jr. High and High School children. We place them into a trauma-responsive home environment (at one of our cottages), help them get caught up in school in our accredited onsite academy, help them work through a nine-level Growing in Character model, and we provide evidence-based, high quality counseling with one of our licensed counselors. We also required the families to come to campus once a month for family counseling and have them work through their own nine-level Intentional Hope model. Once the child is ready to go back home, and once the family is ready to have that child come home, he/she graduates from our program in a very touching ceremony. Thus our goal or mission: Restoring hope. Transforming lives. Reconciling Families.
1. What do you do exactly? And what was the reason that encouraged you to start this organization?
In 1947, a number of Christian men and women saw the need for a children’s home in the Tulsa area. Many husbands had given their lives in the war, and many newly single mothers were struggling to provide for their children. It was in this context that a Christian man named Oscar Slagle of Tulsa OK gave 26 acres of land west of Turley OK to be used in establishing a children’s home. From 1947 to 1996 the Children’s Home was known as the Turley Children’s Home. In the 1990s that part of Tulsa had deteriorated to the point where we could not guarantee the safety of the children and our staff. In 1996 Mr. Robert Tucker donated 80 acres of land north of Claremore OK where a new campus was built. Claremore is located 10 miles northeast of the Tulsa metro area. The name was changed to Hope Harbor to signify the hope that is offered to families and teens who find themselves in unstable lifestyles or family structures. Today, Hope Harbor maintains four cottages to house boys and girls as well as serve as relief cottages when the house parents are on leave. Hope Harbor also has an accredited school on campus in a modern multi-functioning facility that includes classrooms, gymnasium, and offices.
WHAT WE DO IS THIS – We reconcile and reunite families. When the children’s home craze started after WWII, the idea was to have a place for kids to grow up. Children mostly stayed in these homes until High School graduation or entrance into the military. And many of the children went back to a home that was not necessarily good for them. So we changed our focus to better serve the children and their families. Today we screen children to not only see if they are a good fit for our program but to see if their family wants to work to prepare for the child to return home.
2. What motivates you? Describe your mission passion
Our passion for reconciling families comes from the Bible. One of the things that the Messiah was going to do when He came to earth was “to return the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and return the hearts of the children back to the fathers.” There is nothing better than to imitate the ministry of Jesus.
The Mission of Hope Harbor Children’s Home is family reunification. We do this by working with troubled children with the purpose of getting them ready to return home, and working with the families to get them ready to welcome their child back home. Here are some of the things we do:
1. Work with each child to get them back to the education level where they belong. Most kids come either failing school or have been dismissed by their school. In one year at our accredited academy we can help them make up almost 2.5 years of school.
2. Introduce each child to our Nine Level Growing in Character Model. From personal hygiene to responsible family living, each child works through these levels at their own pace.
3. Help each child wrestle with personal crises and past traumas by requiring several weekly sessions with our on-staff licensed counselors. Group sessions are also a part of this process.
4. Work with each child’s family to help them understand the dynamics of their own family as well as the child that they have placed with us. Families are required to come to our campus once each month for sessions with our licensed counselors.
The ultimate goal is to get the children responsible enough to return home to a positive family atmosphere. When the children leave Hope Harbor we continue to be in contact with them and their families and continue to offer Aftercare help when needed.
3. Tell us about your goals
Since moving to Claremore, growth for Hope Harbor has been slow. Right now we do not have room for many children. We limited ourselves because of the intensive program we created for the children and their families. We have an accredited academy on site that works wonders in helping children catch up to their grade level in school. What we do, we do well. But we need more room to house children.
We launched a capital campaign in August of 2017 to raise funds for two more cottages plus some needed improvements to the campus. By November we already reached our goal. Now we are launching Phase II and Phase III of our campaign so we can build a total of six new cottages, another academy building, and much campus beautification. We are also opening up our academy to non-resident children and we are working hard in licensing foster homes in the Tulsa area. In five years we hope to be able to serve 150 children and their families.
4. What was the hardest/toughest moment you had to deal with?
Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out to anyone who might be starting their own organization.
The move from the Turley area of Tulsa to the campus north of Claremore was the toughest. At that time we basically had to start over. Money had to be raised for three cottages and an academy building. It started well with cottages completed in 1996 and the new academy building completed in 2003. Since that time the campus hasn’t changed. Staff wrestled with Hope Harbor’s identity, focus, and mission. It was also at that time that Hope Harbor determined to become privately funded. I.e., no longer would we take funds from the State of Oklahoma or the Federal Government. That was probably to toughest time in our history. But we have grown to be a premier family reconciliation organization.
5. What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?
We experience fulfilling moments quite often. We keep children for only nine months to two years. We work with them to get ready to go home and we work with the families to get ready to have their child come home. When the child graduates from our program we have a very special ceremony that involves all of the children, the child’s family, and all of the staff at Hope Harbor.
6. What separates you from the rest? Why you?
In this part of the United States, Hope Harbor is the only child care facility that intentionally works with teens and their whole family with the idea that he/she will return home as soon as possible. We help the children to mature to become a benefit to their families and we help the family get ready to have them come home. The State of Oklahoma has recently cut virtually all funding that provided housing and counseling for at-risk youth. This does not affect us since we are privately funded. But we have seen a dramatic increase in the volume of calls for child placement. We have so many teens on our waiting list that we could build a cottage today and have it full tomorrow. The funding for at-risk is disappearing but the need for help is not. When the dust settles, Hope Harbor may be the only care facility still standing and working with families.
7. Do you have any upcoming events in the forthcoming months?
In addition to individuals and churches funding 80% of the funds we need to operate each year, we have several specific fundraisers each year to help us make ends meet.
a. Disc Golf Tournament- Hope Harbor boasts one of the best disc golf courses in NE Oklahoma. It usually happens at Hope Harbor on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. In 2018 it will be held on May 12.
b. Golf Tournament- This event usually falls on the Monday after Father’s Day. In 2018 it will be held on June 18. The tournament will be at the Heritage Hills Golf Course in Claremore.
c. Open House/Fish Fry- This event is always the last Saturday of September. It will be held on September 29th. This is a free luncheon for anyone who wants to come. We have a catfish fry as well as pulled pork. There are bouncy castles for the kids. There will be a silent auction of sweets/desserts. We also have a disc golf tournament (fundraiser) and a 5k run (fundraiser) to coincide with the Open House. This is on the campus of Hope Harbor.
d. Gala- This will be on November 10, 2018. This fundraiser is a formal/semi-formal affair. In addition to ticket sales we have a silent and a live auction.
8. What is it that you love most about what you do?
We love watching troubled children work through their personal struggles and mature. We love watching families work on their own struggles and get ready for their child to come home. And the best part is the graduation where we see a family and child reunite.
9. What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today?
Raising money is the biggest challenge. We have faithful donors who have supported us for years. But as the older donors die off the younger ones are not picking up the slack. So our biggest challenge is finding new streams of income which includes now donors, new churches, corporate sponsors, new fundraisers, etc.
10. Anything else you would like to add?
No, but thank you for your help in getting our story out.
Contact: How can people reach out to you?
Your organization’s name, phone, address, e-mail and links to your website and social media
Hope Harbor Children’s Home
15025 E 380 Rd
PO Box 1047
Claremore, OK 74018
Thank you for attention and time from your excellent roofing contractor from Tulsa, OK, Ranger Roofing of Oklahoma!