The Mission — February 2019

The Mission — February 2019


After a lifetime of abuse and heartache, Ruby felt abandoned, angry, and hopeless. When she came to Hope Gardens with her four children, she shut down and kept to herself — until God reached her heart with a butterfly.

“When I was young, I was often left with family, friends, or anyone who would take us. At one point, I was molested. And when I was 16, I had to drop out of school to support my siblings. I never had a childhood.”

Ruby’s unstable life left her feeling unsafe and unloved. Her self-esteem hit rock-bottom. After earning her GED at 18, she spent the next 10 years enduring unimaginable emotional and physical abuse… Read More »

The Mission — January 2019

The Mission — January 2019 6


Ruby was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A series of bad choices led her there, but little did she know that, at 15, her youthful rebellion would cost so much. When the bullet pierced her brain, it changed her life forever.

“When I was growing up, I spent seven years in foster care,” Ruby says. “When I went back home at 13, I didn’t know who my mom was anymore. I’m like, ‘Who are you? You can’t tell me what to do.’ I had no respect for her.”

So Ruby started running away and ditching school. Two years later, she was hanging out with friends when local gang members opened fire. Ruby was hit… Read More »

Stories From Skid Row: Sebastian

Stories From Skid Row: Sebastian

It’s been two years since Sebastian, now 11 years old, was featured on Stories from Skid Row.

When you last saw Sebastian, he and his mother were living at Hope Gardens where he discusses the road that led his family to Hope Gardens and their future, including his wish for a pet dog.

At the end of 5th grade, Sebastian and his mother moved into their own apartment. His mother, who now works as a Case Manager at Hope Gardens, successfully transitioned into independent living, but Sebastian encountered challenges along the way.

Children experiencing homelessness can suffer significant trauma or setbacks, and it’s common for a child experiencing homelessness to fall behind up to two grade levels.

But Claudia, equipped with the tools she learned at Hope Gardens, knew exactly what to do to ensure that Sebastian received the additional support he needed.

Where are they now?

Stories From Skid Row: Sebastian 1Sebastian participates in weekly Bible studies with his youth group, and Claudia adopted a senior dog who now serves as an emotional support animal for Sebastian.

Like most kids, he loves video games and stays connected to his friends at Hope Gardens by playing video games online. His best friend currently lives at Hope Gardens, too.

Halfway through his first year of middle school, Sebastian’s behavior has improved dramatically. He’s becoming more independent and is succeeding in his afterschool tutoring program.

He loves to ride his scooter and wants to be a chef. Claudia is teaching him how to cook, and he wants to start taking cooking classes after school.

In addition, Sebastian still returns to Hope Gardens to fulfill his volunteer hours for middle school. His favorite activity is to help out in Peeps daycare, caring for infants through preschool-aged children.

Sebastian is now in 6th grade and will turn 12 years old this April.

This is possible thanks to supporters like you.

Your generosity and care has made a lasting impact in Sebastian’s life and so many more.

The Mission — December 2018


It was the most painful moment of Stephen’s life. It was the worst thing he ever did. His parents told him to leave and never come back. Stephen thought it was the end. But it was a new beginning…

Life was never easy for Stephen. “My parents were addicts and couldn’t take care of me,” he recalls. “So I was adopted and raised by my aunt and uncle. To this day, they’re my real parents.”

But Stephen always had trouble fitting in at school. He was often bullied and struggled to make friends. In frustration, he acted out and got into fights. By middle school, he started skipping school and running away from home…Read More »

The Mission — November 2018

The Mission — November 2018


Last Christmas was awful. On Christmas day, I took a walk. The streets were empty, just like me. I had no family, no presents, no joy, nothing. How did I get here?

I was born in a home filled with drugs, alcohol, abuse, and violence. I experienced things no child ever should. For three years, I was abused by my uncles. I’ve got scars from my head to my legs, all from my family. So I grew up angry and full of hate. And I spent my life taking it out on everyone I knew.

I did get married, twice, but I lost both because of my anger and emotional abuse…

Read More »