Lake Norman & Mooresville

Hope House holds Art of Hope fundraiser

Tonjua Gilbert smiles as Charlotte artist Kevin Harris, right, paints her portrait painting during the Hope of Art benefit at Historic Beaver Dam in Davidson on June 19.
Tonjua Gilbert smiles as Charlotte artist Kevin Harris, right, paints her portrait painting during the Hope of Art benefit at Historic Beaver Dam in Davidson on June 19. MARTY PRICE

For single women, with or without children, who find themselves suddenly homeless due to an unexpected change in life, there is hope. Hope House in Huntersville.

Current resident Deneja Rabouin, 27, was trying to tell the crowd how grateful she was for that hope when tears started to stream down her face. “I don’t know what I would have done without the Hope House,” she said during the Art of Hope fundraiser June 19 at the Historic Beaver Dam house, in Davidson.

Debbie O’Handley, executive director of Hope House Foundation, said, “This fundraiser is a fun event. To use art creatively to express our appreciation to the community.” In addition to a silent art auction patrons were encouraged to create their own works of art under the guidance of Paint Craze instructors while Charlotte artist Kevin Harris did a live portrait painting.

Dr. Lee Beth Lindquist said she wanted to help the homeless women and children of the Lake Norman area with, “a hand up, not a hand out” when she founded the organization in 2005. She enlisted help of the community and opened the 4,000-square-foot home on four acres in Huntersville to 12 residents in 2009.

Hope House offers a residence for six months, along with the resources to get homeless women back on their.

O’Handley said that with the help of Davidson Career Transition Program, the Ada Jenkins Center, Davidson Housing Coalition and other organizations in the community, they have served 106 families to date.

Former resident Correen Townes, 37, moved into her own apartment in October 2014. “I appreciate the Hope House for helping us put a safe roof over our heads and giving us the resources we needed to get better,” she said.

Townes and her teenage daughter came to Hope House during tough times and the opportunity helped her to become self-sufficient again. Working two jobs for more than a year, she was recently promoted to a management position at Candlewood Suites, in Huntersville.

“My goal is to give back,” she said. “I’m coming back to the Hope House volunteering and now I am in the position to help someone to get a job.”

Rabouin is taking her certified nursing assistant test June 27 and is c enrolled at the Art Institute of Charlotte, taking classes in fashion design. She works at Candlewood Suites with Townes.

Townes offers this advice to anyone who is struggling: “Stay focused and determined, with hope in your heart, and you will make it.”

Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at martyprice53@gmail.com

Learn more:

Hope House Foundation: www.hopehousefoundation.org

Davidson Career Transition Program: www.davidsonumc.org/ministries/fellowship/davidson-career-transition-program

Ada Jenkins Center: www.adajenkins.org

Davidson Housing Coalition: www.davidsonhousing.org

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