Building Hope is celebrating over a decade of service to youth and families in West Greenville and beyond. What began with only 15 students behind the Trade-Wilco Station on 10th Street has now served over 500 youth and families from first grade through graduation. Some of the first youth in the program are now pursuing college degrees and studies abroad.
The vision for Building Hope began when Greenville Christian Fellowship moved its church into the old Laser Tag building on the corner of Evans and 14th Streets. Two teenage boys wandered over and began to ask questions. Pastor Mike Williams spent some time with them, and when they left, he realized that there was a void that needed to be filled. The youth in West Greenville needed somewhere to go for help with academics as well as character development. Mike Williams, Dr. Mark L’Esperance, and David McDowell sat around a white board and sketched out a plan to create a program that would provide youth and families with an infrastructure for success.
Over the course of the first few years, several churches came on board with the Building Hope vision as financial and resource partners. Our partners have expanded to include many government agencies as well as business partners. These collaborations allow us to expand services with satellite sites and to provide best practices for other emerging centers.
What is in the future for Building Hope? Only God knows, but our desire is to continue to support the students who have been with the program as they mature to college and career opportunities. These opportunities include trips to college campuses, apprenticeships, and a 21st Century Leadership Academy in the summer. Our ultimate goal is to see the entire Eastern region revitalized by hope.