I think we need to hear more about good things. In this world of natural disasters and tragedies of every kind, I want to read about people helping one another and being living, breathing miracles. That’s why I’m starting a series on people who do good. I’m highlighting individuals and organizations who are loving their neighbors. Please enjoy and share these stories with your friends and family members. Let’s spread the word that kindness is alive and thriving.
Her bright eyes sparkle when Shari Grimes talks about her new job. She works at Hope House, a non-profit organization that provides living services for people with disabilities. Located in the heart of Norfolk, Virginia, Hope House gives these often neglected individuals a chance to live independently in their own homes.
Shari was introduced to the Hope House the same way many others were — through a special woman named “Hollywood”. While in college, Shari met Hollywood at a local coffee shop where Hollywood was often seen greeting everybody she encountered. Later, Shari learned that Hollywood was one of the many people supported by Hope House. Shari not only saw how Hope House helped Hollywood but how large a role it played in the Norfolk community. It attracted the young twenty-something, who always knew there was more to life than just graduating school and finding a job to pay the bills.
“I wanted to do something for a non-profit. I didn’t want to make more money for someone who’s already rich. I wanted to do something that I felt good about,” Shari tells Beliefnet. “Money wasn’t the priority. I wanted to be able to come home at night and feel like I’ve done something good and look forward to going to work the next morning.”
Shari works in development, which she describes as both marketing and event planning. She helps with donor relations, social media, and ultimately keeping the name of Hope House visible in the community. She says, “We joke a lot that it’s really easy to raise money for children and puppies, because those are cute. But adults with disabilities really need help. They’re often forgotten by a lot of people.”
Hope House is the only non-profit organization in Virginia that supports adults with disabilities. Through her work Shari gets to interact with the people that she’s helping whether it’s in the office or at any of the local events sponsored by Hope House. “I get to see the changes that we’re making in people’s lives as opposed to seeing it on a spreadsheet,” she says.
One of the Hope House events that Shari is particularly proud of, Feather the Nest, debuted this year. She says, “A friend of one of the board members came up with this idea and brought it to us. The plan was to throw a house warming party or a shower where everyone brings a home furnishing item or a gift card; all of these resources are pooled together to help the people we support to decorate and renovate their homes. We have two apartments that we’re working on. We’re going to renovate theirs and everything else will go to other people we support as their needs arise.”
Feather the Nest became a reality with the help of local home decor businesses Shades of Light and KDW Home on February 16th. “It was cold and raining. We were in a tent outside and it filled up,” she recalls. “We had over 300 people come out. We raised over $13,000 in donated items, gift cards and financial contributions. It was amazing. They were so generous.” The next step involves designers who are ready to make-over the apartments and give these special people the home of their dreams.
Shari is glad to be a part of something that does so much for others. As she sees the impact Hope House has on the community, it gives her something back in return. She says, “It’s been cool knowing people like Hollywood. It’s amazing on a grander scale how these people have lived these lives that are so challenging. Even despite all these things, these are the happiest, sweetest, most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. They’re always smiling, super friendly and eager to do whatever. That’s what’s affected me the most… to see these people who have been given difficult situations such as a crappy lot in life or people judge them without knowing them and they’re just unfazed. They’re still truckin’, happy and trying to be good people.”
If you want to learn more about the Hope House, visit www.hope-house.org.
If you know of someone who goes above and beyond to make the world a better place, post a comment below. We’ll get in touch with you to see if we can share their story here on the Inspiration Report.