Instilling hope in the downtrodden, offering dignity to those who feel forgotten and extending a hand to the helpless are powerful acts. For these acts to be successful, more than a simple donation is needed.
Hope4 Centerville-Washington Township (H4C-WT) was established in June 2021 after Steve Rudisill, lead pastor at The Point Church, attended an informational meeting at The Gathering. Jay Schindler, president of The Miami Valley Leadership Foundation, asked Steve to be president of a Centerville chapter of the Hope4 communities.
The Miami Valley Leadership Foundation supports H4C-WT and other Hope4 communities in Miamisburg, West Carrollton, Riverside, Kettering and West Dayton. Jay attends monthly meetings and also holds a monthly gathering with the presidents of all local Hope4 communities. The communities frequently work together, exchange ideas and help one another resolve community needs.
Steve has worked closely with Lisa Magoffin, local outreach director at Fairhaven Church, since the formation of H4C-WT. Recognizing that trust is needed to achieve results, the collective was deliberate in their plans and actions, choosing to first build community.
Lisa and Steve stress the value of working together. Churches can sometimes operate within a silo, focusing on one aspect of a need and limiting their overall effectiveness.
“There's a quote on the Leadership Foundation website, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go further, go together.’ That’s what excited me. Together we could do much more,” shares Lisa.
When assessing the accomplishments of H4C-WT, it is evident that there is a true sense of fellowship within this organization. Two major events have been coordinated since they started. Their Back-to-School Bash was held in partnership with Living Water Lutheran Church at Chevy Chase Park Apartments last August, and the Christmas Store was opened in a Centerville storefront for three weeks during the holiday season.
The Back-to-School Bash saw 32 volunteers and community partners come together to equip families with school clothing, haircuts and backpacks. An estimated 250 kids were served.
Building relationships within the community has been a welcome part of H4C-WT. At the Back-to-School Bash, Lisa recalls line dancing with members of other churches, police officers and community members at the event. She says, “It’s one of my favorite memories. All of us, just enjoying each other’s company.”
The Christmas Store was open for three weeks, serving more than 900 children. Following a model used in prior years by Fairhaven Church, a goal of three gifts per child was established. A total of 300 Bibles were also given out. Yet it was more than aid that was offered at this store. Volunteers prayed with shoppers. Shopping aids helped customers navigate the shopping experience, restoring dignity in some cases by allowing them to make their purchases.
One 16-year-old shopping aid enlisted her friends to collectively raise $500 to buy makeup bags for the store after recognizing the need. Others bought coats or toys as supplies faded. Steve and Lisa saw this as God moving mountains.
H4C-WT has responded to other needs within the community and continues to do so as they arise. Future plans include making the Christmas Store and Back-to-School Bash annual events and providing a solution to the summer daycare dilemma for those in need. Summer enrichment activities are a specific goal.
Steve says, “We have what we like to call God-sized dreams. We keep dreaming them and just trust God's will.”
Those dreams include greater participation from area churches, community partners and volunteers. H4C-WT is essentially in its infancy with an incredible potential for growth. Lisa hopes the future will allow the organization to work collaboratively and with other communities to fix broken systems.
Monthly Hope4 Centerville-Washington Township meetings and volunteer opportunities are open to anyone regardless of faith. Churches, nonprofits, community partners or anyone with questions about how they can participate can contact Steve for more information.
Hope4 Centerville-Washington Township
Steve Rudisill, Director
937.269.3029 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Miami Valley Leadership Foundation
425 N Findlay St, Ste 223, Dayton
937.660.6475 | MiamiValleyLeadership.com
“There's a quote on the Leadership Foundation website, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go further, go together.’ That’s what excited me. Together we could do much more.”