Hope Place works to give help to families in need

Published 9:00 am Monday, March 1, 2004

By By ANNA M. LEE Assistant Editor
Both people in need and people wishing to help have a place to go in Brewton, thanks to Hope Place.
Hope Place has been providing family support services to Escambia County from its current location in downtown Brewton since 1999.
As written in its mission statement, Hope Place strives to "enable families to set, reach and sustain the goal of a healthy and stable and self-sufficient home environment." It does this through a number of services including offering classes and collaborating with other groups intent on the same purpose.
While part of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Hope Place is a totally nonprofit entity operating on grants from the Children's Trust Fund, ADECA, Southern Pine, McMillan Trust, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation and many other contributors.
It also has extensive partnerships with Brewton City Schools, Escambia County Schools and the Department of Human Resources.
Hope Place grew from a project called Partners for Tomorrow which began in 1990. Through that program, it was found that families had multiple needs and they could provide many education services to meet those needs, Fussell said.
Partners for Tomorrow, a parent home visitation program serving over 150 families in Escambia and Conecuh counties, is still going strong as one of the many services offered by Hope Place.
As part of its educational services, Hope Place offers GED classes twice a week, parenting classes every Monday, character education, family and marriage training and job coaching to anyone who's interested.
Last year, they offered a series of four parenting classes to all schools in the county.
Hope Place also offers child care provider training and family development credential classes for up to seven hours of undergraduate credit.
Other services offered by Hope Place include the Learning Center -- an after school tutoring program at Brewton Middle School and Brewton Elementary School -- and a clothing closet providing clothes to those in need.
Beginning soon, Parent Project will provide training in parenting concepts and skills.
The three-story building housing Hope Place was provided by the City of Brewton and has a lot of space for Hope Place to operate and to offer a home to other organizations with the goal of promoting family well-being.
For example, before the Escambia County Child Advocacy Center moved to its own building, it began in the nurturing environment of Hope Place.
As one of 15 members of the Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers in the state, Hope Place works to encourage the establishment of other resource centers. Recently, it mentored the Conecuh County Children Policy Council in beginning its own family resource center.
Along with a group of foster care parents and other groups from across the state, Brewton's Christian Community Benevolent Fund uses Hope Place facilities to meet.
The interaction between Hope Place and other groups is mutually beneficial.