Spend A Few Hours In Another Person’s Shoes

Akirah RobinsonFamily Care0 Comments

On Thursday, September 18th at 6PM, Open Hand Ministries will co-sponsor a poverty simulation at Eastminster Presbyterian Church with other area organizations. During this event, participants will role play a member of a low-income household and discover the stressors of trying to meet a family’s basic needs when expenses are more than income.

This event will be a great opportunity to learn more about you can get involved with the Family Care aspect of our ministry. You can register for it here.

We hope to see you there!

Poverty Simulations September 2014 JPEG

Coming Together for Financial Peace

Akirah RobinsonFamily Care0 Comments


Three of our families recently completed Financial Peace University, a nine-week course that teaches people how to get out of debt, manage their money, spend and save wisely, and invest.

While this alone might not seem incredibly newsworthy, we are ecstatic. Why? Because there is no way we could have successfully hosted FPU without the help of some key folks in our community.

First, Financial Peace University was facilitated by Sharon, a woman who is currently pursuing home-ownership with us. This is the third time Sharon has led the course for our organization and as usual, she did a remarkable job. We feel incredibly grateful for the time, energy, and dedication Sharon puts into each class she teaches.

Second, Sharon was lucky to have an assistant help her teach Financial Peace University this time around. Ryan, an accountant, is a member of the Open Door, one of our member churches. When asked if he would help, Ryan eagerly agreed, wanting to get more involved with the work of our ministry. The expertise of both Sharon and Ryan, along with their unique experiences, made for excellent class discussions each week. Again, we feel incredibly grateful for their productive partnership.

Lastly, all nine classes were hosted in the home we most recently renovated. Our friend Quianna, our latest homeowner, graciously opened her doors to us each week and we couldn’t have envisioned a more welcoming space for our gathering. Talking about finances can be overwhelming for most people, but having a warm and comfortable space to meet made it feel much less intimidating.

While we do help families purchase quality homes in East Liberty and Garfield, our primary focus is to help deepen relationships within our community across a number of barriers. The effort of our class facilitators, hostess, staff, and family participants seemed to really demonstrate what community can look like when we work collaboratively, listen carefully, and share openly. As the African concept of Ubuntu suggests, we need one another to fully be ourselves. Our little Financial Peace Class was certainly a reminder of this.

So, Open Hand Ministries would like to send a BIG thank you to Sharon, Ryan, Quianna for coming together to make Financial Peace University a success this spring, and to all the families who participated. We couldn’t have done it without you.

It Starts With Community

Akirah RobinsonUncategorized0 Comments

“They never gave up on me. They always held out hope and believed home-ownership was possible for me. It may take a while…but OHM won’t give up. It’s in God’s time. And that time helped me get myself in check…my finances, my attitude, and my faith.”

The above quote is from one of our families who recently has become a first time homeowner. In her words I find something so essential regarding the work of Open Hand Ministries, yet something so daunting. “…but OHM won’t give up” — such confidence, such a high expectation. In a moment of honest reflection, I wonder if we’re able to live up to that expectation?

I don’t think so.

Not as an organization, in the conventional sense. There is no way can an organization, or a staff, can deliver on that commitment — not in a sustainable and consequential manner.

But as a community…we can…we should. A community that works hard to discover that value in one another — looking beyond each other’s financial status and their current circumstances and seeing, instead, each other’s attitude, character, faith. A community that transcends the borders of neighborhood, culture, and economics.

When we begin to recognize the value and mutual need of one another, giving up is not an easy option. We will become for one another that which enables us to live into the fullness of our potential.

Thanks for joining us online. It’s exciting to be out there — floating around on the Internet among the countless websites, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. We hope you’ll connect with us in the various ways in which these social networking sites allow. Our hope is to grow the community, not just in size but in depth. Our hope is that these tools make it easier for us to take that first step.

Our Stories: Family Care

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I was a mother of young children; Lynda was a mother, grandmother and all-around baby magnet who radiated wisdom, encouragement and warmth.  Our first conversations gave no indication of the journey ahead – Lynda’s journey to being a mother again and to raising her children and grandchildren in her own home.

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Our Stories: As A Volunteer

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Volunteering with Open Hand Ministries can take many forms: digging a post hole for a backyard fence of a family in its care, artfully packing a dumpster for efficiency and safety, chatting with neighbors at work sites, donating food for volunteer work days, or designing a brochure. Volunteering with Open Hand Ministries is about being in relationship with each other, our neighbors and God. And it is an opportunity to experience the power of God’s grace.

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Our Stories: Deconstructing a house

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Last Saturday I was part of a group of 30 people from five churches who descended upon a house, perched on a hillside in Garfield, that had been vacant for over five years. Our clean out efforts were guided by a man who helped with over 300 house rehabs in Louisiana, so our activity was well organized and above all, respectful. We were encouraged to show care as we extracted the remaining belongings from a former pastor’s home where children had once run down now dusty halls.

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Our Stories: Being a homeowner

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Becoming a homeowner was truly one of my greatest joys.  As a single mother with two children with limited resources, I never thought that this could be possible. I lived in public housing for more than ten years, but as my children got older that option was not longer acceptable.  Our community, like many impoverished public housing communities, became plagued with violence and drugs. Our younger daughter had a near tragic experience in front of our home when she was innocently caught in the middle of a shooting between our neighbors. It was God that kept her from harm, but she was traumatized for some time and I felt that I could no longer keep my children safe, so I began to look for alternate housing.

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