Acts of Hope Center
A Pacesetting Nonprofit Agency
Hungry for Learning (HFL)
A recent survey of more than 4,000 undergraduates at 10 community colleges across the country revealed this surprising fact: nearly half of all community college students struggle with some form of food or housing insecurity. Although it is difficult to know precisely how many collegians in and around San Antonio are homeless or don’t have enough food to eat, conservative estimates suggest that hundreds, if not thousands, of them deal with these serious problems, on or off campus, everyday. Hungry for Learning is born of the idea that students who care to work hard to earn a college degree should not have to worry about food or shelter. The program is specifically designed to remove the burden of hunger and homelessness and, thus, enable struggling students to achieve optimal academic performance.
Target Population: Socioeconomically disadvantaged students 17 years of age and over.
Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)
In 2010, about 614,400 U.S. teenagers (ages 14-19) became pregnant; approximately 89,300 had miscarriages, and 157,000 had legal abortions. The result was that there were nearly 367,000 teenage births in that year. In 2014, 6.3% of all U.S. births and 13.9% of all non-marital births were to teens. And according to a 2010 federal report, teen childbearing is associated with poor health and social outcomes for teen mothers and their children, although these outcomes often reflect preexisting social deficits.
To bring our field experience to bear on the issue and help mitigate its impact on the San Antonio youth, Acts of Hope Center works with its community partners—various universities and institutions of human development—to provide: (1) Abstinence-based sexuality education 1-2 per week, (2) increase awareness about how teenage pregnancy affects the lives of teen parents, and more broadly, community health, and (3) evaluate the impact of this program and publish the results in peer-reviewed journals.
Target Population: Socioeconomically disadvantaged teenagers ages 14-19, and teen parents.
At Acts of Hope Center (AHC), we pride ourselves on being forward-looking. Our YouthE, which stands for “Youth Enrichment”, is intended to empower low-income young people to build or rebuild their lives.” The overarching goals of the program are: (1) Improve academic achievement, (2) provide market-driven vocational training opportunities, (3) offer job search, interview preparation, and resume writing services, and (4) provide one-on-one client-centered counseling and moral support services.
A distinguishing characteristic of AHC’s YouthE program is that it involves the youth we work with in the needs assessment, feasibility analysis, and evaluation phases of all our program activities. In other words, instead of getting young people in a ready-made top-down intervention, our YouthE program empowers them to take ownership and play a major role from start to finish. What’s more, and to ensure long-term success, we have a dynamic mentoring component, which not only relies on a multivariate system to match needs with services, but also create the optimal condition for any mentors to keep in touch with their mentees long after graduation from the program.
Target Population: Low-income adolescents and young adults, male and female, ages 14-24, who are at risk for: (1) academic failure, (2) juvenile crime, (3) teen pregnancy, (4) recursive joblessness, and (5) housing insecurity.
Workforce Empowerment Campaign (WERC)
The Problem and how WERC Addresses it: Despite the enactment of the Americans With Disability Act, Americans with a disability continue to face massive odds on the job market. In 2015, the Texas Workforce Investment Council reported that: (1) the labor participation rate for 25 to 64 year olds with disabilities was 5.9%, compared to 94.1% for those who did not have a disability. And according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, only 17.5% of Americans with a disability were employed in 2016, while 65% of those without a disability were employed.
What makes it worse is that even people without a disability can and do face staggering odds on the job market. In recent years, we have seen a fast-growing number of San Antonians, new college grads with little or no work experience or 50+ year-old adults, to whom employers were reluctant to give a job. It follows that this program is designed to: (1) empower San Antonians with a disability to be employed, and (2) connect recent college graduates and older adults, who have no disability but cant find work, with employers through work readiness partnerships and real job opportunities.
Target Populations:(1) College grads ages 22-35, who have a disability and are unemployed or underemployed; (2) older adults ages 45 and over who have a disability and are unemployed/underemployed; (3) unemployed San Antonians who can’t find work because they are told: “You don’t have work experience!” or “you are overqualified for this job”
San Antonio Community Health Alert (SACHA)
In 2012, according to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes. As of last year, the ratio of San Antonio’s diabetic population was 14%, or twice the national average. And complications or co-morbid conditions associated with the disease include: Hypoglycemia, hypertension, heart attacks and strokes, blindness or severe eye problems, and kidney failure.
As the name suggests, SACHA is a grassroots response to those alarming facts, and to the diabetes problem that our community faces. The program is designed to: (1) raise awareness at the grassroots level about this diabetes epidemic, (2) provide state-of-the-art diabetes prevention education to those living in some of the most underserved areas of our city, and 3) provide the diabetic population with a broad and consistent access to the best treatment options available. Given that diabetes is one of the two leading causes of kidney diseases requiring organ transplantation, SACHA also provides patients who must undergo transplant surgery with the pre-and post-surgery education, follow-up, and financial support they need to achieve optimal health. SACHA is compliant with the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC)'s proven Diabetes Prevention Program.
Target Population: Low-income children ages 0-17 and adults 18 years of age and over.
Stop the Violence Against Women and Children (S-VAWC)
Have you ever wondered what living the life of a neglected an abused little girl or little boy feels like? For most people it wouldn’t be a life worth living at all! What if you could feel the physical and emotional pain that battered women or rape survivors have to deal with each and every day, often for years? S-VAWC is a state-of-the-art program that relies on best practices to provide victims of all kinds of abuse with the support as well as the tools and counseling services they need to heal emotional scars and overcome the pain or suffering associated with what happened to them.
S-VAWC crosscuts the boundaries of client-centered interventions, psychosocial education, group dynamics and specialized health services, as it precisely aligns the complex needs of children, adolescents and adults who have been traumatized by any kind of physical, emotional or sexual abuse with the expertise of the team of professionals we work with.
Target Population: Children and adults, male or female, who find themselves struggling with the consequences of physical and/or emotional trauma—i.e. ineffective emotional self-regulation, unstable personal relationships, academic failure, or recursive job losses, substance abuse, and petty crime.
Caring Neighborhoods Challenging Transformation (CANECT)
CANECT is a unique program designed to create momentum in struggling neighborhoods that are in need of transforming acts of hope. Change must be more than a hand up. It is best created when needs are partnered with caring individuals, compassionate corporations that are committed to results. Whether it is providing diapers for families in need or emergency food resources or exercise classes to battle the rise of obesity and diabetes, the challenges are real but together transformation is possible.
Target Population: low-income families and/or individuals who desire to make lifestyle changes that impact their overall health.