For DaShawna and her siblings, growing up in Minneapolis wasn’t easy.
“All of our life, our mom struggled with drug addiction. The neighborhood we lived in was gang affiliated, and sometimes there would be shootouts. A lot of the things that were happening we just kind of bottled inside, because we didn’t want to look weak.”
But, at Hope Academy, DaShawna experienced something radically different. Year after year, God used the love of teachers, staff, and students to sow deep seeds of faith in her life—faith that has helped her overcome incredible challenges, and produced beautiful fruit decades later.
DaShawna was one of our very first students, attending Hope Academy from second to eighth grade. Looking back on this time, she described her teachers as joyful and patient.
“They didn’t just comfort me, but they also instilled things in me like confidence. ‘You are a child of God, you are loved, you are important to me, and you are important to God.’”
Though she continued to face severe trials in high school and college—walking far away from God for many years—DaShawna knew that Hope Academy was a place where she would always find love and support.
“Shortly after having Levi, I was introduced to the moms from mom’s group [at Hope Academy]. It was so nice to be back in this setting with safe adults that I knew loved me and had my best interest at heart.”
Since then, God has continued to do a remarkable work in DaShawna’s life. Today, she is a wife and mother, actively involved in a church community, and working with teens at Young Life!
“Now I get to work with kids in West St. Paul, reaching those furthest out kids and reintroducing them to Christ and showing them—yes, you can come from very rough backgrounds, but that doesn’t have to define who you are or your future. Going back to those core values and those principles that were instilled at such a young age [at Hope Academy], if I had not had that, I don’t think that I would have had a desire to be any different than what I knew.”
When DaShawna first came to Hope Academy in 2000, we were serving 35 students K-2. By God’s grace, we’ve since grown to serve 590 students K-12! At our annual gala earlier this month, DaShawna’s second grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, shared:
“That first year, there were five of us sitting around a table, excited about the mission of Hope Academy, and every day clinging to Jesus…We were just clinging to him to show us how to build this school, how to help the students, how to connect with families. Just last week we had a staff development day…it was that same feeling of people loving the mission of what they are doing here and pouring themselves out for it, and really clinging to Jesus every day to move forward and connect with families and students in ways that are meaningful and that have a great impact.”
Each year, Hope Academy partners with donors to provide a remarkable, God-centered education to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access in Minneapolis. Together, financial gifts provide for 90% of the cost to educate our students—keeping Hope Academy affordable to hundreds of low-income families.
Would you consider a year-end gift to Hope Academy, to help us serve more children and families and navigate the challenges of this school year together?
Your gift would help provide for 45 additional, new students, and increase the support and opportunities for all of our 590 students to thrive.