During a mission trip to Russia and Romania in 1993, Pastor Tom and Donna Mullins (Christ Fellowship Church) toured several orphanages and witnessed the deplorable living conditions and dire needs of devastated refugee children. Their journey also brought them to a loving environment where they observed children who were rescued from these orphanages and given a chance to thrive. They witnessed remarkable changes and growth. The seeds that were planted took root in their hearts.
Following their return home, the vision for Place of Hope began to grow. They recognized our God-given responsibility to respond to the needs of hurting children and their families throughout our community ~ and took action. The foundation was laid, our model and programs were developed, and our mission was ready to be launched.
In 2000, Bud and Marla Paxson were compelled by God to provide the seed money to purchase the land for our Paxson Campus. Soon after that, the Lovett Family graciously underwrote the cost to build our Casa del Padre Family Cottage. With the opening of our first Family Cottage in 2001, we took in our first child in the summer of the same year.
From then, it wasn’t long before word spread about our mission to care for the children and teens in foster care. Over the next few years, we received enough support from the community to build the Michael Pappas Family Cottage, the Kirkwood Family Cottage, the Brett Harris Weinstein Family Cottage, the Anna Turri Family Cottage, the Sawyer Family Cottage, the Stack Family Cottage, and an Emergency Shelter for boys on our Paxson Campus.
We were excited about all of the growth happening on our main campus, but our eyes were being opened to the needs of teens and young adults who were slipping through the cracks during their transition from foster care into adulthood. It wasn’t long before our board members and supporters took the initiative to raise support to build Villages of Hope in 2006, to provide independent living residential support and essential life-skills development for emancipated foster youth and other homeless youth in need.
In 2008, we launched our Homes of Hope program to begin recruiting, licensing, and training families in the community to care for and/or adopt children into their own homes. In 2011, an initiative was born to offer care and guidance to young pregnant women in need. Joann’s Cottage was opened as our family-style maternity home for pregnant and parenting youth. The Martin and Parr families built Joann’s Cottage in loving memory of their beloved mother and grandmother, Joann Sirrine.
As our programs continued developing in Palm Beach Gardens, we were blessed to partner with KidSanctuary to care for more children in foster care in West Palm Beach. The Samuel J. & Connie M. Frankino Foundation headed up the initiative for this new campus called KidSanctuary, and we opened our first Family Cottage at KidSanctuary Campus in the fall of 2012. The close of 2012 also brought a new beginning for female victims of domestic minor sex trafficking, as we opened up Hope House Florida to offer shelter, care, and healing opportunities for these girls. This is the only faith-based safe house for girls in our region.
In an effort to get more people in the community involved with Place of Hope and to raise consistent funds for the youth in our care, we opened our very own charity store in 2013 – Treasures for Hope. This store not only opened up a new avenue of supporters and volunteers to get involved, but it provides wonderful work opportunities and experience for many of the teens and young adults in our care.
In 2013, we were also given an incredible opportunity to increase our reach to Boca Raton. Because of our solid reputation in caring for children who need help and healing, we were gifted both the land and buildings. Supporters from the Boca community quickly rallied around our cause to help us renovate and reopen the campus to start serving children in the South County area. In July 2014, we held a cottage dedication ceremony to honor the opening of our Genesis Cottage for boys. We now have 8 boys that live in the beautiful new home!
We are so grateful as we look back over the years at God’s mighty provision and guidance over this organization. We trust as long as we work hard to fulfill the calling we have to serve the hurting youth in our area, that God will continue spreading the word and growing our reach to help more and more children.
Seek justice; encourage the oppressed; defend the cause of the fatherless..” (Isaiah 1:17)