Hope AwardsExamples of what Christians do

WORLD has reported on Christian poverty-fighting groups since the magazine began in 1986, but our coverage increased when the effective compassion movement began in 1995 and increased once more in 2006 when we began presenting the Hope Awards for Effective Compassion. Our goal is to honor a few of the self-sacrificing Christian helpers in neighborhoods throughout the United States and to profile groups that have built replicable programs—we hope others will go and do likewise.

If you’re looking for ways to love your neighbor, we offer below a directory of all the Hope Awards finalists since 2006. We’ve placed each organization in a category that shows its major focus:

A: Addiction
B: Babies (unborn)
C: Community
D: Disabilities
E: Education
F: Family
G: Gardening
H: Homelessness
I: Immigration
J: Jobs
L: Legal needs
M: Medical
P: Prison
R: Repair work
S: Sex (anti-prostitution)
T: Transportation
Y: Youth

After the organization’s name, we also included letters for the other categories in which the group also serves. Overlaps go with the territory: a rescue mission may help homeless men and women to beat addictions, reunite with their families, or attain lodging and employment.

We have four different letters after “What it takes”:

L: License
S: Specific skill (such as auto repair)
E: Experience (such as that a mother gains)
N: Neighborliness (a simple desire to invest time in helping others)

We then list principles embodied in a program (see “Defining principles” at the end of this directory for an explanation of these principles):

A: Affiliation
B: Bonding
C: Categorization
D: Discernment
E: Employment

We also offer a state-by-state listing at the end. —Marvin Olasky


Addiction

Bay Area Rescue Mission
A, H, J, Y
Where it is: California
What it offers: Emergency shelter, long-term discipleship, job and computer training, education through local schools, culinary arts program, financial and spiritual counseling, transitionary housing, youth outreach, mobile outreach program
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

CityTeam Ministries
A, B, H, J, M
Where it is: Pennsylvania
What it offers: Addiction recovery, Bible studies, child care, food boxes, healthcare, job training
What it takes: L, E, N
Principles embodied: C, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Fresno Rescue Mission
A, F, H
Where it is: California
What it offers: Addiction counseling, skill training, emergency housing, parenting counseling and classes, hot meals, haircuts, literacy training, career mentoring
What it takes: L, S, E, N
Principles embodied: C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Guiding Light Mission
A, H, J
Where it is: Michigan
What it offers: Chemical detox program, Biblical teaching, career counseling and back-to-work program, GED education
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: B, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Lighthouse Ministries
A, E, H, J, N
Where it is: Florida
What it offers: Addiction counseling, accountability programs, shelter, preschool and adult education, case management, job training in thrift stores, spiritual counseling
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

New Life Home
F, H, E
Where it is: New Hampshire
What it offers: A residential opioid recovery program, classes about the Bible, household management
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, C, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Panama City Rescue Mission
A, H, F, J
Where it is: Florida
What it offers: Shelter, anti-addiction discipleship, life-skills programs, clothing, transitional housing, workforce preparation, jobs
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Promise of Hope
A, F
Where it is: Georgia
What it offers: Recovery from addiction at a rural refuge, work, family counseling
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Redwood Gospel Mission
A, H, J
Where it is: California
What it offers: Emergency shelter, anti-addiction help, shelter, work in the mission thrift store
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: C, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Restoration Ministry’s Harvey and Tabitha Houses
A, H, J, L, Y
Where it is: Illinois
What it offers: Anti-addiction and spiritual training programs, shelter, job opportunities, legal representation, youth programs, art education, boxing club
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, C, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Solus Christus
A, G
Where it is: North Carolina
What it offers: Pre-rehab home, spiritual counsel, farm work, life-skills training
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Union Mission Ministry’s New Life Center
A, D, H, M, Y
Where it is: Virginia
What it offers: Rehab from addictions, life-skills training for women, a foster home and youth camp for kids, medical care and shelter for the homeless, programs for the elderly and disabled
What it takes: L, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Babies (unborn)

Alpha Pregnancy Help Center
B, F, M, S
Where it is: California
What it offers: Free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, counseling, parenting, and sex-education classes
What it takes: L, E
Principles embodied: A
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Hope Pregnancy Ministries
B, F, M, S, Y
Where it is: Montana
What it offers: Counseling, STI testing, pregnancy tests, parenting classes, mentoring
What it takes: L, S, E
Principles embodied: A, B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Heartbeat of Miami
B, F, M
Where it is: Florida
What it offers: Free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, pregnancy care, counseling, adoption and parenting support
What it takes: L, E
Principles embodied: A
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Community

Active Compassion Through Service (ACTS)
C, H
Where it is: Pennsylvania
What it offers: Prison, nursing home, and AIDS hospice services; meals and classes for the homeless; a springboard to other ministries
What it takes: L, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Challenge House
C
Where it is: Kentucky
What it offers: Homes for Christian families in inner-city neighborhoods
What it takes: N
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Emmanuel Gospel Center
C
Where it is: Massachusetts
What it offers: Research services to monitor urban development for local church ministries
What it takes: S
Principles embodied: A
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Hope International
C, Y
Where it is: Haiti
What it offers: Biblically based financial training and coaching, savings programs, youth programs, microloan network
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: A, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Lighthouse Community Center
C, E, F, G, I, Y
Where it is: California
What it offers: Leadership training, youth groups, community garden, tutoring, literacy education, citizenship classes
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Samaritan Strategy Africa
C
Where it is: West Africa
What it offers: Economic growth through Christian-based worldview and financial clubs, entrepreneurship “seed” projects, spiritual mentorship, inter-ministry church networks
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: A, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Seeds of Hope
A, C, H, S
Where it is: New Jersey
What it offers: Street outreach, Bible studies, and mentorship programs designed to help addicts, the homeless, ex-prisoners, and prostitutes
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

South Side Mission
C, H, J, M, Y
Where it is: Illinois
What it offers: An adopt-the-block program, cooking school, senior citizen clinic, soup kitchen, shelter, youth groups
What it takes: L, S, N
Principles embodied: A
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

The Shepherd Community Center
C, E, G, M, Y
Where it is: Indiana
What it offers: Youth ministries, Christian school, community garden, food pantry, adult counseling, health clinic
What it takes: L, E, N
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

St. Francis Center
C, E, G, H, I, Y
Where it is: California
What it offers: K-5 private school with classes for parents, prep for citizenship, community garden, emergency aid, youth programs, affordable housing
What it takes: L, S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, C
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Disabilities

Christ for People with Developmental Disabilities
D
Where it is: Minnesota
What it offers: Bi-weekly services, specialized outreach program
What it takes: L, N
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Galilean Home Ministries (formerly Galilean Children’s Home)
B, D, E, P, Y
Where it is: Kentucky
What it offers: Home and Christian school for orphaned children, babies of imprisoned mothers and the disabled
What it takes: L, E
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Guardian Angel Homes Faith-in-Action
D
Where it is: Michigan
What it offers: Pairs up individuals from the community with disabled residents, encourages some residents to seek independence through apartment-living options
What it takes: L, E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Happy Hands Education Center
D, E
Where it is: Oklahoma
What it offers: Education for deaf children, after-school programs
What it takes: L, S
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

New Day Foster Home
B, C, D, M, R
Where it is: China
What it offers: Home and foster parents for disabled children, critical surgery payments, medical care, employment, English and computer skill courses, home repair, milk formula for orphanages, homeschool co-op
What it takes: L, S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Shepherds Ministries
D, E, J
Where it is: Wisconsin
What it offers: Preparation for internship and career through a college education, jobs, a home for more severely disabled individuals
What it takes: L, S, E
Principles embodied: E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Education

Church Hill Activities & Tutoring (CHAT)
E, P, Y
Where it is: Virginia
What it offers: Preschool and after-school programs, Christian academy, education for prisoners
What it takes: L, E
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Delta Streets Academy
E, Y
Where it is: Mississippi 
What it offers: Christian education for low-income youth
What it takes: L, S
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Hope Academy
E, Y
Where it is: Minnesota
What it offers: Affordable classical Christian school education for inner-city children
What it takes: L, E
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

The Oaks Academy
E, Y
Where it is: Indiana
What it offers: Affordable classical Christian elementary and middle school education in the inner city Indianapolis, arts opportunities, sport teams, summer camp, after-school programs
What it takes: L, S, E
Principles embodied: A, B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Shivani Medes School
E, Y
Where it is: Iraq
What it offers: Classical Christian education, a communal lifeline for Yazidi refugees fleeing from ISIS
What it takes: L, S
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Family

Beacon Hill
F
Where it is: Alaska
What it offers: Foster and adoptive care network, family reunification center
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: A, B, C
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Neighborhood Christian Center
C, F, Y
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: Parenting education, marriage programs, emergency aid, job training, Bible studies, camps, after-school groups
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

My Safe Harbor
F
Where it is: California
What it offers: Help for single mothers, monthly fellowship meetings, life-skills mentoring, family development classes
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Snappin’
D, F
Where it is: Wisconsin
What it offers: Support for families of disabled children via prayer, babysitting, fellowship, and financial aid
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Gardening

Friends Ministry
C, G
Where it is: Michigan
What it offers: Work in community garden in exchange for financial aid, a senior citizen food pantry
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Homelessness

Bowery Mission’s Women’s Center
A, H, J
Where it is: New York
What it offers: Long-term shelter, career development program, spiritual guidance, art classes
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: B, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Crossroads Center Rescue Mission
H, J
Where it is: Nebraska
What it offers: Shelter, employment and finance programs, life-skills courses, employment opportunities
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Hope Christian Center
A, H, J
Where it is: New York
What it offers: Shelter, recovery program, volunteer experience, employment, Bible classes
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: B, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Interfaith Housing Coalition
G, H, J, Y
Where it is: Texas
What it offers: Affordable furnished apartments, career development, community garden, financial coaching, children’s programs
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Joshua Station
F, H, L, Y
Where it is: Colorado
What it offers: Affordable refurbished motel rooms, community service opportunities, legal help, financial coaching, family counseling
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, C, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Grace Centers of Hope
A, H, J, Y
Where it is: Michigan
What it offers: Christ-centered rehab, transitional home, shelter, affordable apartments, child care, GED and computer education program, career development guidance, summer camp
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Mission Solano
A, H, J
Where it is: California
What it offers: Shelter at local churches, meals and clothing, rehab program, veterans’ home, transitional programs, community outreach center, incoming culinary training institute
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Sunshine Ministries
A, E, H, Y
Where it is: Missouri
What it offers: Emergency shelter, soup kitchen, food pantry, recovery program, Bible studies, career development services, life-skills and computer classes, preschool, youth camps
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Orange County Rescue Mission’s The Village of Hope
A, G, H, M, Y
Where it is: California
What it offers: Affordable housing, meals, medical and dental care, daycare, vocational and GED courses, financial counseling, case management, therapy groups, worship services, after-school tutoring, hair salon, community garden, recreation fields
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Immigration

Crossroads Nogales Rescue Mission
A, I, P, Y
Where it is: Arizona
What it offers: Shelter, meals, clothing drive, chapel services, a recovery and probation program, summer camp, counseling
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Exodus
I
Where it is: Illinois
What it offers: Network of Christian neighbors for refugees, welcome care packages
What it takes: N
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

The Root Cellar
I, M, Y
Where it is: Maine
What it offers: Food distribution, ESL classes, job training opportunities, microloans, medical and dental clinic, case management, youth activities, international teas and breakfasts, Bible study, clothing store, citizenship programs
What it takes: L, S, E, N
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Jobs

Advance Memphis
A, F, J, L
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: Vocational training, GED classes, legal aid, addiction and anger management help, family counseling, staffing program, financial guidance, individual development accounts, entrepreneurship course
What it takes: L, S, E
Principles embodied: A, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee (formerly Christian Women’s Job Corp)
J
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: GED, literacy, computer, and Bible courses, job mentoring, child care
Why it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Bud’s Warehouse
J
Where it is: Colorado
What it offers: Vocational training and jobs in home improvement/thrift store, lifestyle coaching, spiritual counsel
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Community Warehouse
C, J
Where it is: Wisconsin
What it offers: Jobs for the unemployed, vocational training, affordable building and house restoration materials
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

A Hand Up For Women (formerly Knox County Christian Women’s Job Corps)
J
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: Biblically based lifestyle counseling and job training
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Job for Life
J, P
Where it is: North Carolina
What it offers: Vocational training and mentorship through church, prison and addict reentry programs, YMCA-facilitated curriculum
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Victory Trade School
J
Where it is: Missouri
What it offers: Free training for gourmet culinary and hospitality certificates, child care, GED courses, home appliances for graduates
What it takes: L, S, E
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

WorkFaith Connection
J
Where it is: Texas
What it offers: Christ-based vocational boot camp and career counseling
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Legal needs

Administer Justice
I, L
Where it is: Illinois
What it offers: Bi-lingual pro-bono legal services, low-income taxpayer clinic, financial and conflict resolution counseling, prayer and encouragement, jumping-off point for community help and involvement
What it takes: L
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Advocates for Community Transformation
C, L
Where it is: Texas
What it offers: Busts drug houses in court through volunteer legal help and community involvement
What it takes: L
Principles embodied: A
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Medical

Christ Clinic
M
Where it is: Washington
What it offers: Affordable healthcare to the uninsured, psychiatric services, life-skills counseling, prayers and encouragement, network to other affordable and pro-bono healthcare resources
What it takes: L
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

CrossOver Healthcare Ministry
M
Where it is: Virginia
What it offers: Free health and dental care for the uninsured, prayer, in-house pharmacy
What it takes: L
Principles embodied: D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Mercy Health Clinic
M
Where it is: Georgia
What it offers: Free medical and dental care to the poor and uninsured, in-house pharmacy and pharmacy refill clinics
What it takes: L
Principles embodied: D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Prison

Forgiven Ministry
F, P
Where it is: North Carolina
What it offers: Programs for prisoners, including parent-child camps and family support groups, prayer and counseling center, children’s prison visitation room with worship program, reentry counseling, family support group for convicts, movie events, Bible studies, terminally ill visitation program
What it takes: N
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries
P
Where it is: North Carolina
What it offers: Bible studies, clergy visitation program, worship services, creative arts programs for inmates and children, literacy program, parenting and prison survival classes, in-house and reentry mentorship, prison ministry tutoring for churches
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

New Horizons
F, P, J
Where it is: Colorado
What it offers: Short- and long-term foster care for children with incarcerated mothers, inmate reintegration facilities, parenting and Bible courses, jobs through thrift store
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, C, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Rachel’s House
F, P
Where it is: Ohio
What it offers: Christian rehab center for female ex-convicts, family visitation program, job and life-skills guidance, community support team, mentorship
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Straight Ahead
A, P, Y
Where it is: Massachusetts
What it offers: Youth reentry and addiction recovery program, in-prison Bible studies, life-skills and job training, GED or college enrollment help, volunteer programs, juvenile ministry training, Christmas gift prison program
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Repair work

Genesee County Habitat for Humanity
H, R
Where it is: Michigan
What it offers: Affordable homes for the needy, home and neighborhood repair and rehabilitation
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

New Song Urban Ministries
E, J, M, R, Y
Where it is: Maryland
What it offers: Home-remodeling, job training, healthcare, school and preschool offshoots
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Parker Street Ministries
C, R, Y
Where it is: Florida
What it offers: Home-revitalization and repairs, educational programs, youth camp, community events, neighborhood outreach
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: A
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Roving Volunteers in Christ’s Service
J, R
Where it is: United States
What it offers: Volunteer opportunities for retirees to repair and beautify Christian nonprofit facilities
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: D, F, G
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

St. Roch Community Development Corporation
C, J, R
Where it is: Louisiana
What it offers: Home revitalization and repairs; financial, literary, and job training classes; entrepreneurship aid
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Sex (anti-prostitution)

A Way Out
A, S
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: Prostitute, stripper, and addict recovery program; safe housing; job training; clothing; financial and medical assistance; family and addiction counseling; Bible studies
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Treasures (formerly I Am a Treasure)
S
Where it is: California
What it offers: Community outreach to sex industry workers and sexually exploited children, mentoring and professional counseling, care packages, retreats and recreational events, training for other sex-trade ministries
What it takes: L, E, N
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Transportation

Hands of the Carpenter
R, T
Where it is: Colorado
What it offers: Car repairs for widows and single mothers, car maintenance education clinics
What it takes: S
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Maury United Ministries
T
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: Free rides, repaired vehicle donations for the needy, local Christian ministry fund pool
What it takes: S, N
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Youth

Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches
G, Y
Where it is: Arkansas
What it offers: Rural residential foster program for abused and neglected children, farm work, equestrian therapy program
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Bearings Bike Shop (formerly Beltline Bike Shop)
Y, C, R
Where it is: Georgia
What it offers: Bicycle repair and replacement that teaches kids about work and builds community
What it takes: S, N
Principles embodied: C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Campus Clubs
Y
Where it is: Georgia
What it offers: Youth camps, career training, Bible study, after-school program, tutoring, learning center with computer lab
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Compassion International (Central America)
B, Y
Where it is: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala
What it offers: Child development programs; clothes making, computer training, and abuse defense classes for children; parenting classes for adults; after-school tutoring; child sponsorship program
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Fathers in the Field
Y
Where it is: Wyoming
What it offers: Foster-father mentorship program for fatherless boys through outdoor sports, church, and community service
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Freedom for Youth
H, J, Y
Where it is: Iowa
What it offers: Biblically based after-school and summer programs, career training and personal development courses, high school small groups, leadership and life-skills training, residence program for homeless young adults, employment at coffee shop and construction sites
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Hope House
E, D, Y
Where it is: Idaho
What it offers: Foster home for abandoned, abused, or disabled children; Christian school; equine, outdoors, and sports programs
What it takes: L, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Hope Now for Youth
Y
Where it is: California
What it offers: Mentorship and employment program for at-risk youth and former gang members
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, C, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

A House on Beekman
C, Y
Where it is: New York
What it offers: Mentoring for parents, preschool and afterschool program, summer camp
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Jubilee Leadership Academy
E, F, Y
Where it is: Washington
What it offers: Accredited boarding school for at-risk boys, horsemanship and sports programs, counseling, vocational training, farm work, service-learning opportunities
What it takes: L, S, E
Principles embodied: A, B, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

K.I.D.S Christian Music Center
Y
Where it is: Alabama
What it offers: Affordable music and dance lessons, pianos for students in need, community choir, youth musicals, Bible classes, field trips, summer camp, after-school tutors, motivational speakers
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: B, C
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Long Island Youth Mentoring
F, Y
Where it is: New York
What it offers: Mentorship program for foster children and single mothers, literacy tutoring through churches and public schools, training for other mentorship programs
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: A, B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Mind Body Awareness Project (formerly Vision Youthz)
P, Y
Where it is: California
What it offers: Center for youth on probation, mindfulness training for communities and school groups, outdoor activities, yoga courses, groceries, job-hunting resources, goal-centered counseling, references to vocational schools and colleges
What it takes: E
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Navajo Ministries
B, C, F, Y
Where it is: New Mexico
What it offers: Residential foster care, Christian teaching and radio, an after-school program and vacation Bible school, support to Navajo churches
What it takes: E, N
Principles embodied: B, C, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Northern Youth Program
F, P, Y
Where it is: Canada
What it offers: Bible studies, youth camp, boys and girls clubs, counseling, prison visitation, parenting workshops, aviation-based ministry to Inuit communities
What it takes: L, S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Neighborhood Christian Center’s TRUTH Seekers
Y
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: After-school Bible study program for children and youth, tutoring, financial literacy, multimedia and arts training, summer camp, meals, scholarships
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Rock Ministries
Y
Where it is: Pennsylvania
What it offers: Classes in boxing and jujitsu for urban youth; weightlifting gym, art and computer room for children
What it takes: S, E
Principles embodied: B
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Urban Promise
E, Y
Where it is: New Jersey
What it offers: Biblically based summer camps for kids; Christian elementary, middle, and high schools; outdoor adventure and boat building programs; yoga classes and life center; fine arts courses; after-school enrichment; culinary courses; leadership training for youth
What it takes: L, S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Valley of Hope
F, G, J
Where it is: Zambia
What it offers: Orphan care, a Christian school, job opportunities, economic development
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: B, D, E
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Wears Valley Ranch
E, Y
Where it is: Tennessee
What it offers: Rural foster home for at-risk and abused children, personalized homeschool opportunities, horse therapy, sports programs, counseling
What it takes: S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, C
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website

Youth Horizons
E, Y
Where it is: Kansas
What it offers: Mentorship program for at-risk youth, boys foster ranch, education through public school system, life- and job-skills training
What it takes: L, S, E, N
Principles embodied: A, B, D
WORLD’s profile
Organization’s website


Defining principles

All of these programs begin with a strong belief in God as the Bible reveals Him. The history of Christian poverty fighting in America also shows reliance on five basic principles built on Biblical understandings of who we are.

1. Affiliation

A century ago, when individuals applied for material assistance, charity volunteers tried first to “restore family ties that have been sundered” and “reabsorb in social life those who for some reason have snapped the threads that bound them to other members of the community.” Instead of immediately offering help, charities asked, “Who is bound to help in this case?” Mary Richmond of the Baltimore Charity Organizing Society summed up in 1897 the wisdom of a century: “Relief given without reference to friends and neighbors is accompanied by moral loss. Poor neighborhoods are doomed to grow poorer whenever the natural ties of neighborliness are weakened by well-meant but unintelligent interference.”

Today, before developing a foundation project or contributing to a private charity, we should ask: “Does it work through families, neighbors, and religious or community organizations, or does it supersede them?” For example, studies show that many homeless alcoholics have families, but they do not want to be with them. When homeless shelters provide food, clothing, and housing without asking hard questions, aren’t they subsidizing disaffiliation and enabling addiction? Instead of giving aid directly to homeless men, why not work on reuniting them with brothers, sisters, parents, wives, or children?

We should ask, as well, whether other programs help or hurt. It’s good to help an unmarried teenager mother, but much such aid now offers a mirage of independence. A better plan is to reunite her whenever possible with those on whom she actually depends, whether she admits it or not: her parents and the child’s father. It’s good to give Christmas presents to poor children, but when the sweet-minded “helper” shows up with a shiny new fire truck that outshines the second-hand items a poor single mom put together, the damage is done. A better plan is to bulwark the beleaguered mom by enabling her to provide a better present.

2. Bonding

When applicants for help a century ago were truly alone, volunteers worked one-on-one to become, in essence, new family members. Charity volunteers a century ago usually were not assigned to massive food-dispensing tasks but were given the narrow but deep responsibility of making a difference in one life over several years. Kindness and firmness were both essential: The magazine American Hebrew in 1898 told of how one man was sunk into dependency, but a volunteer “with great patience convinced him that he must earn his living”; soon he did and regained the respect of his family and community. Similarly, a woman had become demoralized, but “for months she was worked with, now through kindness, again through discipline, until finally she began to show a desire to help herself.”

Today, when an unmarried pregnant teenager is dumped by her boyfriend and abandoned by angry parents who refuse to be reconciled, she needs a haven, a room in a home with a volunteer family. When a single mom at the end of her rope cannot take care of a toddler, he should be placed quickly for adoption where a new and permanent bonding can take place, rather than rotated through a succession of foster homes. Some failed programs spend a lot of money but are too stingy in what is truly important: treating people as human beings made in God’s image, not as animals.

3. Categorization

Charities a century ago realized that two persons in exactly the same material circumstances, but with different values, need different treatment: One might benefit most from some material help and a pat on the back, the other might need spiritual challenge and a push. Those who were orphaned, elderly, or disabled received aid; jobless adults who were “able and willing to work” received help in finding a job; “those who prefer to live on alms” and those of “confirmed intemperance” were not entitled to material assistance.

“Work tests” helped both in sorting and in providing relief with dignity. When an able-bodied man came to a homeless shelter, he often was asked to chop wood for two hours or to whitewash a building; in that way he could provide part of his own support and also help those unable to chop. A needy woman generally was given a seat in the “sewing room” (often near a child care room) and asked to work on garments that would be donated to the helpless poor or sent through the Red Cross to families suffering from the effects of hurricanes or tornadoes. The work test, along with teaching good habits and keeping away those who did not really need help, also enabled charities to teach the lesson that those who were being helped could help others.

Today, don’t we need to stop talking about “the poor” in abstraction and start distinguishing once again between those who truly yearn for help and those who just want an enabler? Programs have the chance to succeed only when categories are established and firmly maintained. Work tests can help: Why shouldn’t some homeless men clean up streets and parks and remove graffiti? Now, as thousands of crack babies born addicted to cocaine and often deserted by mothers who care only for the next high, languish in hospitals under bright lights and with almost no human contact, why shouldn’t homeless women (some are psychotic or sick, but others are healthy and gentle) be assigned to hold a baby for an hour in exchange for food and shelter?

4. Discernment

“Intelligent giving and intelligent withholding are alike true charity,” the New Orleans Charity Organization Society declared in 1899. “If drink has made a man poor, money will feed not him, but his drunkenness.” Poverty fighters a century ago trained volunteers to leave behind a conventional attitude toward the poor, seeing them through the comfortable haze of their own intentions. Barriers against fraud were important not only to prevent waste but to preserve morale among those who were working hard to remain independent: “Nothing is more demoralizing to the struggling poor than successes of the indolent.”

Bad charity also created uncertainty among givers as to how their contributions would be used, and led to less giving over the long term: It was important to “reform those mild, well-meaning, tender-hearted, sweet-voiced criminals who insist upon indulging in indiscriminate charity.” Compassion was greatest when givers could “work with safety, confidence, and liberty.” Today, lack of discernment in helping poor individuals is rapidly producing an anti-compassion backlash, as the better-off—unable to distinguish between the truly needy and the grubby-grabby—give to neither.

5. Employment

New York charity leader Josephine Lowell wrote that “the problem before those who would be charitable, is not how to deal with a given number of the poor; it is how to help those who are poor, without adding to their numbers and constantly increasing the evils they seek to cure.” If people were paid for not working, the number of non-workers would increase, and children would grow up without seeing work as a natural and essential part of life. Individuals had to accept responsibility: Governmental programs operating without the discipline of the marketplace were inherently flawed, because their payout comes “from what is regarded as a practically inexhaustible source, and people who once receive it are likely to regard it as a right, as a permanent pension, implying no obligation on their part.”

Today, programs that stress employment, sometimes in creative ways, need new emphasis. For example, more of the able-bodied might receive not housing but the opportunity to work for a home through “sweat equity” arrangements in which labor constitutes most of the down payment. Some who start in vigorous programs of this sort drop out with complaints that too much sweat is required—but one person who stayed in a program said at the end, “We are poor, but we have something that is ours. When you use your own blood, sweat, and tears, it’s part of your soul. You stand and say, ‘I did it.’”

—from The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky


State-by-state listings

Alabama (1): K.I.D.S Christian Music Center (youth)

Alaska (1): Beacon Hill (family)

Arizona (1): Crossroads Nogales Rescue Mission (immigration)

Arkansas (1): Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches (youth)

California (12): Alpha Pregnancy Help Center (babies), Bay Area Rescue Mission (addiction), Fresno Rescue Mission (addiction), Hope Now for Youth (youth), Lighthouse Community Center (community), Mind Body Awareness Project (youth), Mission Solano (homelessness), My Safe Harbor (families), Orange County Rescue Mission’s The Village of Hope (homelessness), Redwood Gospel Mission (addiction), St. Francis Center (community), Treasures (sex)

Colorado (4): Bud’s Warehouse (jobs), Hands of the Carpenter (transportation), Joshua Station (homelessness), New Horizons (prison)

Florida (4): Heartbeat of Miami (babies), Lighthouse Ministries (addiction), Panama City Rescue Mission (addiction), Parker Street Ministries (repair work)

Georgia (4): Bearings Bike Shop (youth); Campus Clubs (youth), Mercy Health Clinic (medical), Promise of Hope (addiction)

Idaho (1): Hope House (youth)

Illinois (4): Administer Justice (legal needs), Exodus (immigration), Restoration Ministry’s Harvey and Tabitha Houses (addiction), South Side Mission (community)

Indiana (2): The Oaks Academy (education), The Shepherd Community Center (community)

Iowa (1): Freedom for Youth (youth)

Kansas (1): Youth Horizons (youth)

Kentucky (2): Challenge House (community), Galilean Home Ministries (disabilities)

Louisiana (1): St. Roch Community Development Corporation (repair work)

Maine (1): The Root Cellar (immigration)

Maryland (1): New Song Urban Ministries (repair work)

Massachusetts (2): Emmanuel Gospel Center (community), Straight Ahead (prison)

Michigan (5): Friends Ministry (gardening), Genesee County Habitat for Humanity (repair work), Grace Centers of Hope (homelessness), Guardian Angel Homes Faith-in-Action (disabilities), Guiding Light Mission (addiction)

Minnesota (2): Christ for People with Developmental Disabilities (disabilities), Hope Academy (education)

Mississippi (1): Delta Streets Academy (education)

Missouri (2): Sunshine Ministries (homelessness), Victory Trade School (jobs)

Montana (1): Hope Pregnancy Ministries (babies)

Nebraska (1): Crossroads Center Rescue Mission (homelessness)

New Hampshire (1): New Life Home (addiction)

New Jersey (2): Seeds of Hope (community), Urban Promise (youth)

New Mexico (1): Navajo Ministries (youth)

New York (4): Bowery Mission’s Women’s Center (homelessness), Hope Christian Center (homelessness), A House on Beekman (youth), Long Island Youth Mentoring (youth)

North Carolina (4): Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries (prison), Forgiven Ministry (prison), Job for Life (jobs), Solus Christus (addiction)

Ohio (1): Rachel’s House (prison)

Oklahoma (1): Happy Hands Education Center (education)

Pennsylvania (3): Active Compassion Through Service (community), CityTeam Ministries (addiction), Rock Ministries (youth)

Tennessee (8): Advance Memphis (jobs), Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee (jobs), A Hand Up for Women (jobs), Maury United Ministries (transportation), Neighborhood Christian Center (families), Neighborhood Christian Center’s TRUTH Seekers (youth), A Way Out (sex), Wears Valley Ranch (youth)

Texas (3): Advocates for Community Transformation (legal needs), Interfaith Housing Coalition (homelessness), WorkFaith Connection (jobs)

Virginia (3): Church Hill Activities & Tutoring (education), CrossOver Healthcare Ministry (medical), Union Mission Ministry’s New Life Center (addiction)

Washington (2): Christ Clinic (medical), Jubilee Leadership Academy (youth)

Wisconsin (3): Community Warehouse (jobs), Shepherd’s Ministries (disabilities), Snappin’ (families)

Wyoming (1): Fathers in the Field (youth)

United States (1): Roving volunteers in Christ’s Service (repair work)

International (7): Compassion International, Central America (youth); Hope International, Haiti (community); New Day Foster Home, China (disabilities); Northern Youth Program, Canada (youth); Samaritan Strategy Africa, West Africa (community); Shivani Medes School, Iraq (education); Valley of Hope, Zambia (youth)

directory compiled by Molly Hulsey and Charissa Crotts

Photo credit: iStock.com/2jenn​