HELEN'S HOPE CHEST / A Program of Mesa United Way

Real Hope for Real Kids

aka HELEN'S HOPE CHEST   |   Mesa, AZ   |  www.helenshopechest.org

Mission

Engaging the community to provide for the basic needs of children and teens in foster and kinship care.

Ruling year info

2014

President / CEO

Mark A Young

Executive Director, Helen's Hope Chest

Katie Pompay

Main address

126 E University Drive

Mesa, AZ 85201 USA

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EIN

46-4747933

NTEE code info

Foster Care (P32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Helen’s Hope Chest serves Arizona children and youth aged 0 to 24 who are living in foster or unlicensed kinship care, and those who are aging out of the foster care system. We envision a community where every child in foster or kinship care understands their value, self-worth, and that they have a place in the community while every foster/kinship parent knows they are supported. Together with dedicated volunteers and generous community partners, Helen’s Hope Chest helps to reduce the financial impact on foster and kinship families, thereby increasing these children’s chances of success. Our Foster360 program assists youth aged 14 through 24 to transition out of foster care into adulthood. Youth aging out of the foster care system often lack the support system needed to transition into independent living. According to the National Foster Youth Institute, nearly half of these youth become homeless within 18 months of emancipation.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Helen's Hope Chest

Children in Foster Care
Children of every age are a part of the foster care system in Arizona. From newborn babies to young adults, Helen’s provides for foster families. Specifically, Helen’s helps children who have a case with the Department of Child Safety and who have been placed in a licensed foster home or group home. Their caregiver must bring Notice to Provider paperwork to each appointment.

Children in Kinship Care
In many cases, children will find themselves removed from their parents’ home and placed with another family member. These families qualify for less financial assistance from the Department of Child Safety. If a child is no longer being cared for by their parents but they do not have a case with the Department of Child Safety they may receive services from HHC. In order to qualify, the kinship caregiver must connect with a partnering kinship program and receive a Kinship Number to use at HHC.

Others
Helen’s also provides an outfit, books, and gifts for biological and adopted children of foster and kinship families.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Goal #1: Bring Helen's Hope Chest to families living on the west side of Phoenix

Helen’s Hope Chest provides hope to children and teens in foster and kinship care by providing clothing, hygiene items, and birthday gifts at no cost to them through our special boutique. It is important that every young person who visits our free boutique feels a sense of confidence, acceptance, and dignity. The Helen’s Hope Chest boutique allows these kids and their caregivers to choose the items they want just like they would in a regular store, and our dedicated volunteers work hard to sort donations to help ensure they receive new and like-new items that are current and stylish. Our organization has been in operation since 2009, when we opened as a small clothing closet in a borrowed church room. Since then, Helen’s Hope Chest has expanded into an 8,000-square-foot building in Mesa, Arizona serving more than 700 youth each month. Our goal is to expand our operation to include a mobile boutique so that we can meet clients where they are, particularly in rural areas and the west side of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Goal #2: Double the number of youth participating in Foster360 in 2020

Even though 70% of youth aging out of foster care report that they would like to attend college, one in four will not graduate from high school or get a GED, and fewer than 3% will earn a college degree in their lifetime. According to the National Foster Youth Institute, more than half of those aging out of foster care become homeless within 18 months, and one-third of these homeless youth will become victims of sex trafficking. Helen’s Hope Chest aims to change these statistics for Arizona youth through the Foster360 program. Foster360 addresses the needs of young people aging out of the foster care system at no cost to them or their foster families, including providing stability, guidance, coordination of services, and connection to the community. Foster360 Personal Navigators assist these youth in navigating the services and resources available to them, including providing direct connections to housing, job training and placement, education, and financial literacy programs. Using our training in life coaching and trauma-informed care, the Foster360 program assists young people transforming from a mindset of victimhood to one of empowerment. Our goal is to double the number of Foster360 participants we can help by hiring two more Personal Navigators this year.

Helen's Hope Chest employs a number of strategies to sustain and build upon our ability to serve children and teens who have been touched by foster care. First, we partner with state agencies and community organizations who refer families to us. We continually strive to expand our network of resources that can provide services and support for our clients.

We also rely on AmeriCorps and volunteers from local businesses and communities to conduct clothing drives and work in our boutique.

Helen's Hope Chest applies for funding from foundations and requests donations from individuals for specific needs.

Approximately 50 volunteers from the community, faith organizations, the Boy Scouts, and local businesses serve in the Helen’s Hope Chest boutique on a monthly basis. The number of volunteers increases to nearly 200 during special events such as our back-to-school drives and JaKelle’s Christmas Box. Volunteers also conduct donation drives to meet specific needs, such as books, pajamas, hygiene items, and birthday gifts. These types of in-kind donations supply Helen’s Hope Chest with approximately $750,000 worth of inventory to keep the boutique stocked with the items that children in foster care want and need.

In addition to our volunteers, Helen's Hope Chest has dedicated, highly trained staff that each play a role in supporting the children and their foster families. All of Foster360 program staff and volunteers have experience working with youth in educational, juvenile justice, and behavioral health settings. After hire, all client-facing personnel must successfully complete a rigorous training program that includes successful completion of trauma-informed care training from the Arizona Trauma Institute, life coaching training through the Youth Coaching Institute, and Empower Online Training through Arizona State University. Staff also must complete Personal Navigator training and learn how to contribute to the development of our growing database of community resource partners.

The Foster360 program addresses the root causes of poor outcomes typical of youth aging out of the foster care system and actively engages youth in identifying and breaking through the barriers to achieving their goals.We strive to be a long-term resource for youth participants, maintaining relationships for as long as necessary to achieve their independent living goals. Because youth who have experienced foster care often lack family support, our Personal Navigators serve as surrogate family members in teaching the life skills necessary to live independently, such as managing appointments, opening a bank account, and setting goals. We leverage our relationships with community organizations to directly connect youth to job training and job seeking opportunities, education, housing, and other resources. By identifying and working with existing providers, we help to ensure that we are not duplicating work. Foster360 boasts a growing database of more than 250 community partner organizations that serve as resources for meeting the needs of Foster360 youth. The database was designed to build in redundancy so that if one organization is unable to provide the required service, another will immediately be available.

2019 Helen's Hope Chest Numbers:

*12,596 children and teens were served by Helen’s Hope Chest
*7,697 clothing visits
*3,012 participated in Jakelle’s Christmas Box
*1,575 backpacks given away
*990 volunteers

In fiscal year 2019, the Foster360 program touched the lives of over 150 youth through our life skills workshops and other community outreach activities. There are 50 individuals currently enrolled in the Foster360 program. Eleven of these youth were homeless, and Foster 360 placed them in stable housing. We continue to connect Foster360 participants employment services, assist them in enrolling in educational programs, and connect them to physical and behavioral health services.

Financials

HELEN'S HOPE CHEST / A Program of Mesa United Way
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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HELEN'S HOPE CHEST / A Program of Mesa United Way

Board of directors
as of 02/04/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Lynn Westergard

Schmidt Westergard & Company PLLC

Term: 2018 - 2020


Board co-chair

Veronica Lewis

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Term: 2018 - 2020

Byron F Allen

American Savings & Life

Jo A Wilson

Benedictine University

Larry J Young

Wells Fargo Bank

Spencer Dickson

Giles Dickson PC

Craig Henry

Sales Outline Consultants, LLC

Seth Marty

Community member

Christopher Jones

Community member

Brian Allen

Udall Shumway PLC