An Administrator's Perspective on Project Hope

Last summer, a high school principal asked to thank the congregation that serves her school during Project Hope on a Sunday morning. Here are a few highlights of what she had to say about Project Hope, and what she asked of the Church:
"At the end of August, you all show up in mass for what’s called Project Hope. Please know, painting, weeding and power washing… when you come in and do that for us, it’s like cleaning our home. [It’s valuable because] the first budget cuts came as far away from the classroom as possible, but it devastated our maintenance crew. It’s like creating a space for my kids and my staff to come into a place that’s well cared for, pretty & nice. It just feels like a good place to be. And I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for creating a home for us.“

“And I’m going to ask you for something: To pray for us. Please pray that our journey would be guided by truth and light, and that we would have the wisdom and grace to do our work with integrity and love. And for humility.”

BJ Blake
Eugene School District 4J

What others are saying about Project Hope . . .

“Project Hope is a community building event that provides support and encouragement for families in our school district. The event is a welcoming and well organized event for families to enjoy an afternoon of youth activities, haircuts, dinner, while also receiving backpacks, school supplies, socks, and shoes for their children.  Project Hope is a beautiful collaboration between our local churches, community business, and schools. The is a great deal of time and energy that many people offer to make this event happen each year and we are very fortunate to have them in our community”

Tina Gutierez-Schmich
Equity Director
Bethel School District


“Dear everyone at Project Hope,

Thank you so much for the things that you gave us! It was so amazing of you! It was so amazing of you to take the time out of your day for it. The shoes that you gave me are amazing! It’s been a very long time since I got a new pair of shoes. You guys are such great people and I hope that the Lord blesses you abundantly. Thanks again! You guys rock!”

Sincerely, a community youth

p.s. thanks for the backpacks and haircuts –  it was so nice of you guys.

“Dear Mr. Buss:

Schools everywhere rely on the support of their communities. But from time to time, community members come together in efforts that are truly extraordinary.

Project Hope does a tremendous amount to help children and families in our community. We are grateful for the work you do to bring together local businesses and thousands of volunteers to serve an ever-growing number of children with Project Hope’s annual giveaway of back-to-school supplies.

We especially want to thank you for organizing hundreds of volunteers to participate in a day of service at schools across our community this fall. Staff members at our schools have been calling to rave about all the amazing work you and your volunteer crews performed.. they are so thankful for the time spent painting, landscaping, cleaning parking lots, emptying storage closets and on many other tasks that we have not had the funds or manpower to do.

This herculean effort provided a dozen 4J schools with a fresh facelift for the new school year. As you can imagine, this gives our families, students, and staff even more pride in their buildings.

Your tireless efforts have resulted in a lasting impact on our community’s children and the schools they attend. Thank you for all that you have done to help our students and brighten our community.”


Alicia Hays, School Board Chair

Dr. Sheldon Berman, Superintendent

“65 Students and Staff from New Hope Christian College served on Saturday for Project Hope at the High School. We did many different jobs from landscaping to window washing. It was just an incredible time. The principal directed our team to various sights around the extensive campus. She was amazed with the NHCC students ability to get tasks done with a level of excellence.

The experience was so positive for our students that many of the New Hope students said they wanted to come back to the High School not just to work but also to develop relationships with the students.

I must say that the highlight for our team was at the end of the work day when all 65 of us gathered around the principal and prayed for her and the school. (after the prayer she said she wanted to see if she could send us football tickets so we could come and support the student and the school).

It was a tremendous opportunity for our students to be involved in Project Hope and we certainly want to do it next year.”

Steve Poetzl
Former Director of Student Life
New Hope Christian College

“For what it’s worth, we sang the song “Beauty of the Lord” this (Sunday) morning and the chorus goes “Jesus, Your love, it takes my breath away.”

We had a few people share briefly about their Project Hope experience during the service and I realized that the chorus of that song seemed to capture the response we got from the Principal and staff.  The two representatives, especially the Principal, seemed to have their breath taken away by a tangible expression of God’s love.  I’m continuing to learn that Jesus still takes my breath away in unexpected ways.”

Tracy Sims
Associate Pastor
Grace Community Fellowship

“Saturday, we had about 90 people over at Holt Elementary working together. Only about 30 of those folks were from our two churches – the rest were our neighbors.  Three of those couples are coming to my house Monday for a BBQ. Everyone who came expressed deep thanks for the chance to serve together, and a desire to do more … the principal, one of the School Groundskeepers, and the School volunteer coordinator were all left speechless at the level of support they felt … one of them who works on grounds for 4J was misty eyed telling me how all the churches serving the schools were a God Send. The Kindergarten teacher sent a card thanking us for showing the love of Jesus to her co-workers.  As far as tasks, our volunteers blew us away with what they managed to accomplish … amazing.  What a tremendous feeling to know that as we raked and weeded, many others were doing the same in the name of Jesus all around town.

Sunday … the response of people in need broke me.  As I walked and prayed through the lines, all I could do was cry out to Jesus to save our city.  As I watched our brothers and sisters in Christ hand out water and cookies and popcorn and food, serving shoes and socks and school supplies, simply loving and smiling and praying with those waiting in the heat, all I could think of was Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 about the “least of these.”

Pastor Aaron Box
North Park Community Church

“Dear Project Hope,

As principal of Maple Elementary school I would like to thank you for your efforts on behalf of our school and community during Project Hope school clean up on August 27th.

Over forty members of City Destiny, Springfield Nazarene churches and Project Hope participants arrived that Saturday to clean up our playground and to spend hours manicuring our grounds and flowerbeds. There was a lot of work to be done, but there were many willing hands.

It was my understanding that volunteers were only scheduled to work for two hours, but many stayed to finish the job and were at our school from 9:00 o’clock in the morning until after 2:00 pm in the afternoon. When their work was completed, Maple’s school grounds looked beautiful!

Speaking on behalf of our Maple school staff, students and neighborhood, I thank everyone from your organizations for the gift you shared with us in offering your time, labor, and love while you worked on Maple’s school grounds.

I am deeply moved that members of our community cared enough about the children of our school to give up their Saturday so that on the children’s first day of school, they will walk down clean sidewalks and past trimmed and tidy landscaping.

I will tell the children that what you have done for them was done with care and love. And they will observe that this is true, when they look around their school’s grounds and see that they are clean, tidy, and welcoming.”

With much Appreciation,

Jay Carter, Principal
Maple Elementary School

“Dear everyone at Project Hope,

Thank you so much for your kindness to put on this wonderful back to school event. I indeed needed new shoes and supplies for school this year. Not knowing how I could pay for it, my mother stumbled upon this wonderful opportunity. You have helped my family and many other families this year. It have been very long since I last had new shoes. Thank you very much for your kind consideration! May God bless you dearly!”

My best regards, a community youth