Place of Hope Celebrates 20 years!

Twenty years ago, an idea that was born out of a mission trip came to fruition birthing life into nearly 17,000 abused and neglected children and youth. Place of Hope is excited and blessed to be celebrating 20 years of service this year! It is because of the generosity and commitment from our supporters that we have grown into the largest children and families organization in South Florida caring for our community’s most needy and vulnerable.

We are blessed to be a part of 320 forever families since opening our doors in 2001! As we celebrate 20 years of service, we reflect on the incredible legacy we have created together by providing hope and healing to so many children and youth who needed it.

1994 – God places a vision on the hearts of Christ Fellowship Founding Pastor Tom and Donna Mullins

1998 – Charles L. Bender, III hired as Founding CEO, and Place of Hope received out 501(c)(3) status. Boe and Myrna Adams purchase and donate land to build a safe haven for children.

Before Place of Hope was South Florida’s largest and most comprehensive children and families organization, it was a vision, a handful of faithful supporters and a 10-acre plot of land. Fast forward 20 years, the Paxson Campus is the flagship for Place of Hope’s residential, family style foster care and all administration. The Paxson Campus serves children ages 5-17 in a professional, loving and stable home. Nearly 17,000 children and youth have been served across our organization since we opened our doors in 2001!

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. – Zechariah 4:10

2000 – Bud and Marla Paxson generously named our Paxson Campus and helped launch our mission to “provide a stable and loving environment for children, youth and families that are hurting…and to meet the desperate needs in our community by sharing God’s love and placing hope in their lives – one life at a time.”

2001 – Thanks to the love and commitment of the Lovett family, our first Family Cottage, Casa del Padre Family Cottage, was built. Casa del Padre serves our Seven Stars program, providing a stable and loving emergency shelter for boys.

2002 – The Adams family dedicated our beautiful Michael Pappas Family Cottage in memory of their good friend, Michael Pappas, and in honor of his wife, Ursula Pappas.

2003 was a big year for Place of Hope! Through the generous Kirkwood Fund, Tim Henry and John Thomas, the fund advisors, were able to issue a matching challenge (dollar for dollar) for the Kirkwood Family Cottage (James and Claudine Kirkwood). Also, the Brett Harris Weinstein Family Cottage for abused and neglected children was dedicated in loving memory of Brett, son of Harris and Debbie Weinstein. Harris and Debbie’s desires were to see Brett’s legacy shine by impacting the lives of those in need.

2004 was another monumental year for Place of Hope. After visiting Place of Hope and seeing its statistic shattering results, Anna Turri decided to issue her own matching challenge to build the Anna Turri Family Cottage for girls. The Sawyer Family Foundation and Carl and Marcia Sawyer funded the Sawyer Family Cottage to provide for our community’s neediest boys. Additionally, The Angels of Charity, founded by Dorothy Sullivan, opened The Dorothy A. Sullivan Angels of Charity Community Outreach Center in support of our many programs.

2006 – Thanks to the generosity of Rick Stack, the Stack Family Cottage was opened, adding much needed capacity for us to serve more boys in foster care. Each of our cottages on the Paxson Campus is home to six children, ages 5 – 17, separated into boy cottages and girls cottages. Our family style homes are loving lead by a married couple who model for the children a stable and loving family environment. Each child is taught responsibility and accountability through daily and weekly chores including doing their own laundry!

Also in 2006, Villages of Hope opened to provide independent living residential support and essential life-skills development for emancipated foster youth and other homeless youth in need.  This initiative was spearheaded by the Cullifer and Specce families. Since 2006, Villages of Hope has had 146 aged-out or homeless youth transition into healthy adulthood and four of them are first time homeowners! In 2011, Villages of Hope expansions and infrastructure improvements were completed.  Thanks to the generosity of Gordon and Cheri Martin, the campus was named Donna’s Place at the Villages in honor of our co-founder, Donna Mullins.

2008 – A need for traditional foster care in the community was presented. Through our executive leadership and support in the community, Homes of Hope, our traditional foster care and adoption program, was launched to recruit local families to foster and adopt children in the child welfare system. Today, our Homes of Hope program is our largest program serving hundreds of children and families every day across six counties! We have cared for nearly 1,400 foster children through this program spanning Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties! It is because of God’s provision and your support investing in Place of Hope that we are able to celebrate this tremendous milestone!

2009 – Place of Hope launched a family outreach and intervention program, Shade Tree, helping to keep families together and keep kids from having to enter the child welfare system. It also helps those who have exited the child welfare system, as well as other at-risk families and youth in need.  In 2020 alone, our Shade Tree program served 317 people blessing them with clothing, furniture, food, assistance vouchers and child abuse prevention!

2010 – Thanks to the Barsanti Family, the Peter and Fern Barsanti Family Life Center opened to provide for the educational, therapeutic and recreational needs of the children in our care and to provide space for our various programs.

2011 – Thanks to the generosity of the Martin and Parr families, The Kirkwood Foundation and Anna M. TurriJoann’s Cottage opened as our community’s first-ever faith-based, 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.

2012 – Villages of Hope expanded by opening the Samuel J. and Connie M. Frankino Charitable Foundation Transitional Housing Duplex and the Berlin Family Foundation Transitional Housing Duplex. The Frankino Duplex offers transitional housing for parenting youth. The Berlin Foundation Duplex provides transitional housing for emancipated or otherwise homeless youth in need.

Also in 2012, through the vision of Todd and Julie Mullins, Place of Hope opened Hope House Florida, a safe house for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. In collaboration with KidSanctuary Campus, Place of Hope opened a southern campus, Place of Hope at KidSanctuary Campus, to take care of abused and neglected children in West Palm Beach with the JM Rubin Cottage.

2013 – The Place of Hope team had a dream to open a charity store to generate awareness and support for all our programs, and to provide wonderful volunteer and work opportunities for the children and youth in our care.  We approached a nearby store to share our vision and see if they would be interested in selling.  To our delight, the owners decided to support our dream and Treasures for Hope was born.  Today, Treasures for Hope provides hands on training for our young adults at Villages of Hope, while also financially supporting the program.

Also, in 2013, we were blessed with an incredible gift! Due to Place of Hope’s solid reputation as one of the largest comprehensive children and families organizations in our region, The Haven in Boca Raton generously gifted their Southern Palm Beach County campus to Place of Hope! We opened Place of Hope at The Haven Campus to meet the needs of children and young adults in foster care in Boca Raton. Thanks to the generosity of David and Leighan Rinker, in 2015, Place of Hope at The Haven Campus was renamed Place of Hope at The Leighan and David Rinker Campus.

Our Villages of Hope campus received two new additions in 2013. The Katherine W. Christoffers Transitions to Independence Resource Center opened providing life-skills training and enrichment opportunities, and the Agnes La Pointe Prayer and Visitation Courtyard opened, in loving memory of Kathleen Frazier’s mother, Agnes La Pointe.

2014 – Place of Hope at KidSanctuary Campus opened doors to a second cottage, The Dodero Cottage, serving young girls in the foster care system. Also in 2014, Place of Hope at The Haven Campus opened The Genesis Cottage, serving abused and neglected boys throughout Palm Beach County, by the generosity of collaborative efforts from Cathleen McFarlane Charitable Foundation, The Helping Hands Foundation, and JP Morgan Chase Foundation. Villages of Hope opened The Honda Classic Cottage, housing young men as part of the Extended Foster Care program, the first of its kind in Palm Beach County.

2015 – Crossing into four new counties and a brand-new judicial circuit, Place of Hope’s Homes of Hope launched in the Treasure Coast in January 2015, providing training and recruitment services to potential foster families in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties! Today, Place of Hope is the fastest growing and largest children and families organization in the 19th Judicial Circuit! Since 2015, we have served nearly 400 children and families in the Treasure Coast!

2015 was a big year for the Rinker Campus. Not only was it renamed Place of Hope at The Leighan and David Rinker Campus (formerly The Haven), but also, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Ken and Laura Begnoche, the Begnoche Family Sports Court opened, Alumni Impact Girls Cottage opened, serving young ladies in Extended Foster Care.  This is the first Extended Foster Care program for females in Palm Beach County. The cottage is adorned with a beautiful garden, designed, planted and maintained by Mary Kaub and the Boca Raton Garden Club. In West Palm, Place of Hope at KidSanctuary Campus opened doors to a third cottage, Sam’s Cottage, serving young boys.

2016 – Place of Hope at The Leighan and David Rinker Campus opened the Jeannine and Leland Morris Art, Education and Wellness Center to provide life-skills training and enrichment opportunities.  Also, The Leighan Roberts Rinker Family Cottage for Girls opened as the first family-style foster home at The Leighan and David Rinker Campus and immediately welcomed a sibling group of six!

2017 – After spending time on our Paxson Campus, and reflecting on his own childhood, Johnny Gray and his wife Terry decided our children and youth needed a wellness center for health, wellness and athletic development. They generously funded and built the Gray Fitness Center on our Paxson Campus. This fitness center is the epicenter for many of our children, youth and families as it offers an opportunity for the community health and wellness professionals to donate their time, talent and resources. Our families are introduced to yoga, weightlifting, team sports, dance, cross fit style classes and more! The fitness center also opened the door for nutrition classes and teaching our families how they can live a healthier lifestyle. Also in 2017, in honor of Bud Paxson, our Paxson Campus Playground of Hope was built.

2018 – The Berlin Enrichment Center opened in January at our Paxson Campus.  The center includes the “Mishpacha” mentoring/tutoring initiative. In 2018, The Kelly Woods Fleming Cottage for Boys, offering family-style foster care for siblings and hard to place youth, opened at The Leighan and David Rinker Campus. Also on the Rinker campus in 2018, GL Homes built our south county Playground for Hope. Also on the Rinker campus, groundwork was laid for the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Village, a 10-acre village serving aged-out foster youth, and otherwise homeless young adults. Once completed, the village will consist of four, eight-bedroom transitional housing complexes serving 32 youth!

2019 – the Lane Education and Enrichment Center was completed at The Leighan and David Rinker Campus! Also, Dawn and Tom Ballard named Dawn Drive on the Rinker Campus. After almost 20 years of serving nearly thousands of children and youth, in 2019 Johnny and Terry Gray generously remodeled three of our family-style cottages on our Paxson Campus. Additionally, the Paxson Campus welcomed the GL Homes Playground in 2019.

2020 – The Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Village opened on the Rinker Campus in Boca, as well as the Gary Peters Family Traditional Housing Complex! Thanks to the generosity of James and Marta Batmasian, the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Village received a Prayer Garden. Cherie Arscott Road was named on the Boca Campus thanks to the generosity of Cherie and John Arscott.

2020 was a year for our sister entity social enterprises! Both the Harris L. Weinstein Outreach Center in Hobe Sound, and The Lane Center in Palm Beach Gardens were completed. The Harris L. Weinstein Outreach Center is home to our Treasure Coast Homes of Hope programrecruiting, training and licensing foster families. Additionally, life-skills classes and community enrichment and engagement opportunities through Shade Tree are offered here. It is also home to Peninsula Coffee and three Peninsula Executive Office Suites. Similarly, The Lane Center is home to Peninsula Social Enterprises and our Palm Beach County Homes of Hope program. The Lane Center has 11 Executive Office Suites, as well as Peninsula Social Shared Space.

Rounding out the year, thanks to Johnny and Terry Gray, Treasures for Hope and Peninsula Social Enterprises are debt free!

To learn more about Place of Hope and how you can get involved, call Jamie Bond at 561-775-7195 or email [email protected].