x

Hear from Our Current Team

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown, case manager and counselor, pictured with his wife and 5 children

What did you do before arriving at Homes of Hope for Children?

“I was an officer in the Army for 10 years. Toward the end of my time in the military, I began to pursue a Masters of Social Work degree with the intention of working with soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. However, both midway through the program at the University of Southern Mississippi and shortly after graduation, I was afforded the opportunity to work with children in a school-based setting, and I greatly enjoyed both of these experiences.”

What attracted you to working at Homes of Hope for Children?

I love the vision behind Homes of Hope for Children – to provide opportunities and stability for children in crisis. I have found that the strategy at Homes of Hope for Children is approached first and foremost by committing this work to prayer.  Homes of Hope for Children is passionate about sharing and demonstrating the good news of eternal hope through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ not only to the residents here, but also to each other and those outside of the ministry.”

What is the most fulfilling part of being a case manager and counselor at Homes of Hope for Children?

“It has been an enriching experience.  Hearing the work that God is doing in and through the lives of the residents here and being able to join in the mission here is a sincere privilege.  I have been able to see and hear about how God has used the gifts and talents of current and past staff members to minister to the hearts of these children.  I am so thankful for the opportunities God has given me to see Him work in their lives, and I am excited to see them continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and to become the men and women of God He is preparing them to be.”

How would you advise or encourage someone who is thinking about joining our ministry team?

“First, I would encourage them to pray about the opportunity.  If they do not have experience working at a children’s home, I would also encourage them to dialogue with individuals who have and ask them to share their experiences.  After that, I would recommend careful reflection on the gifts and passions God has given them and consideration of how those attributes might fit into being part of a children’s home team.

Jeff and Kelly DeVries

Jeff and Kelly DeVries, girls’ houseparents in Hope Haven Cottage

What did you do before arriving at Homes of Hope for Children?

Jeff worked for a home maintenance company and Kelly worked in children’s ministry at their church in Louisville, Kentucky.

What attracted you to working at Homes of Hope for Children?

“We loved the philosophy behind it. Leadership focuses on what is best for the children, it is not supported by state funding, and Jesus is in the forefront of all decisions and life.”

What is the most fulfilling part of being houseparents?

“To know that we are a small part of the story God is writing in the lives of these children can be overwhelming in its magnitude and breathtaking in its possibilities. Jeff and Kelly DeVries from Hope Haven cottageGetting to live life with these kids is a great gift.

 How would you advise or encourage someone who is thinking about working here as a houseparent?

“We would advise a couple to honestly reflect on their marriage. We were rightly told that this job would magnify the strengths and weaknesses in our marriage and it has challenged both. God is the forefront of our marriage and our home. Be sure he is one of yours as well.

Jeremiah and Erika Gordon

Jeremiah and Erika Gordon, houseparents in Dearman Cottage

What did you do before arriving at Homes of Hope for Children?

“We worked as houseparents at a children’s home in Florida for 14 years. We were houseparents to children who were struggling with dysfunction in the home and the resulting behavioral issues. We also worked as houseparents at a boarding school in Malaysia.”

What attracted you to working at Homes of Hope for Children?

“We were impressed with the focus on not just providing homes for children, but doing it with excellence and professionalism. We noticed the importance Dr. Garrett [the executive director] and Melissa [the director] placed on houseparent retention right away – that they support the houseparents so we can give excellent care to the children. We love that each home is allowed to function like a unique family, and that each family is encouraged to be involved and active in the community.”

What is the most fulfilling part of being houseparents?

“We love the chance to live out your life with these kids, with the knowledge that you have a chance to completely change and affect the whole trajectory of their lives. We get to speak life and truth to these kids, introduce them to all kinds of new things (whether that is the arts, good books, sports, places they haven’t been, or just a peaceful home), and share what it means not to just know Jesus but to be changed by him.

How would you advise or encourage someone who is thinking about working here as a houseparent?

Being a houseparent doesn’t take someone amazing or special; we aren’t more talent or organized or patient than other people. We parent as a profession; it’s both a ministry and also a job to take seriously, even if you can start the day cooking pancakes in your pajamas. You will sacrifice things like privacy, schedules, and perhaps extended family time, but in return you’ll receive the support of a team of other professional parents and the chance to do a job that truly matters for eternity.”

Steve and Samara Loschiavo

Steve and Samara Loschiavo, relief houseparents in Dearman and Hope Haven Cottages

What did you do before arriving at Homes of Hope for Children?

Steve was a reservist in the US Army and worked as a civilian optician in the clinic at Luke Air Force Base. Samara was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to their daughter Isabella and to two other girls from their church; she also had a part-time business as a Disney travel agent.

What attracted you to working at Homes of Hope for Children?

“We were very impressed when we saw [the executive director] Dr. Garrett’s video on this website, which immediately attracted us to his vision. Then, when we first talked to Melissa [the director] on the phone, the first question she asked was if she could pray with us. Those are just a couple of the many qualities that attracted us to working here.”

What is the most fulfilling part of being houseparents?

“Being involved with the children on a daily basis and being part of a great ministry that is committed to giving children the tools to be prepared forSteve and Samara Loshiavo from the Dearman Boys' Cottage and the Hope Haven Girls' Cottage. life by providing a stable, Christ-centered home environment.”

How would you advise or encourage someone who is thinking about working here as a houseparent?

“First, be diligent in prayer and be open to God’s calling – being a houseparent must be the call of the Lord. Second, remember that being flexible and being able to laugh are essential to this work.”

Dave and Sue Nelson

Dave & Sue Nelson, relief houseparents in Dearman and Fenton cottages

What did you do before arriving at Homes of Hope for Children?

“Five years ago, God gave us the desire to work with hurting kids and moved us to South Carolina where we served at another children’s home until coming to Homes of Hope.  Before starting our ministry in children’s homes, we lived in Colorado where Dave worked in medical practices doing billing and IT for 15 years and Sue was an elementary school teacher for 15 years.”

What attracted you to working at Homes of Hope for Children?

“We were attracted to Homes of Hope because God is truly at the center of everything every day. Dr. Garrett’s vision for these kids to not only have a safe home to grow up in but be able to share the Good News of Jesus with them excited us. We loved that siblings get to be part of each other’s lives because they are kept together and get the chance to build family memories.”

What is the most fulfilling part of being houseparents?

“We love that we are being used by God to help these kids have a life where they are safe and taken care of – a life where they can just be kids. We love that we get to share the love of Jesus with them and speak Truth to them and sometimes see that Truth take hold and start to grow. We love just being there every day sharing the “every day kind of family life” that many of us take for granted but these kids didn’t have before coming to Homes of Hope.

How would you advise or encourage someone who is thinking about working here as a houseparent?

“We would encourage anyone thinking about becoming a houseparent to pray – not only about the job itself, but for your marriage too. Houseparenting is so different from anything you have ever done and will stretch you, individually and as a couple, beyond what you can imagine.  It has been the most challenging choice we have ever made but also the most rewarding. God has broken us down and then built us back up with His love time and time again while caring for these kids. Be ready to be changed!

Billy and Tisha Weller

Billy and Tisha Weller, Dearman houseparents

Billy and Tisha Weller, boys’ houseparents in Hatten Cottage

What did you do before arriving at Homes of Hope for Children?

“In 2009, the Lord called us into the Children’s Home ministry. We ministered in two Alabama children’s homes before being blessed to begin serving at Homes of Hope for Children.”

Before working at their first children’s home, Billy worked at a Satellite Service business and Tisha worked in HeadStart.

What attracted you to working here?

“We were initially drawn to this ministry because of Dr. Garrett’s testimony and vision. After visiting the homes and talking with staff, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit on campus. We were excited to see the staff’s commitment to Christ and their commitment to teaching these children about Christ.”

What is the most fulfilling part of being houseparents?

Billy: “It’s such a blessing to watch the children grow spiritually. I enjoy leading daily devotions with them and watching the Word become real in their lives. I am thankful that God allows us to be a part of His plan to teach these children about Him.”

Tisha: “It is a sweet experience to form bonds and relationships with these children. It’s heartwarming for me to watch these children change, grow, and mature as they put the things we have taught them into action. It is powerful to watch God’s plan for these children to learn about Him unfold in front of my eyes.”

How would you advise or encourage someone who is thinking about working here as a houseparent?

“First of all, our advice would be to pray and seek God’s will. This is not a job. It’s a ministry and it’s a family. We are very fortunate that Homes of Hope for Children has a unity within the staff on campus. We love having other Christian staff that encourages each other so we can grow closer to God together. We are blessed to have administration that has a personal relationship with the Lord, looks to Him for direction and guidance, and gives Him all the honor and glory.”