This week we are interviewing Stephanie Holt, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Mission 21, one of the organizations that is graduating from our Partners Program! Read Monday’s post and watch for the last post on Friday featuring the rest of the Mission 21 story!
What was your favorite part about being a Shared Hope partner?
I remember vividly the day that I called Shared Hope International. Here I was, a young, zealous, nervous new founder. In my early research on everything I could learn about this movement I came across the Shared Hope website. I decided to call and see if I could talk to anyone about what to do next. Surprised and completely unprepared, Elizabeth Scaife answered the phone and spent over an hour sharing all sorts of invaluable wisdom.
I remember hanging up with her and squealing with happiness and excitement. It was as if I had just won the lottery. This has been my favorite part of partnering with Shared Hope International. Even before our formal partnership, I appreciate the transparency and willingness to equip young organizations to do the most good. I was so lucky to have had an invitation to join the Restoration Shelter Working Group in 2010, with a nomination from Heather Callier at Breaking Free and a second motion Emily Fitchpatrick from Hope House at that time. This early mentorship and real-talk training was an incredible opportunity that fast forwarded Mission 21’s progress and credibility. The people that make up Shared Hope International, have been my favorite part of our journey together. Authenticity, ability, passion, wisdom and heart has been just as valuable, if not more valuable, than the very generous grants we have received to provide services to youth survivors throughout the years.
What’s the biggest thing SHI provided for you during your time as a partner?
You believed in us. You did that with more than just words of encouragement and affirmation. Shared Hope did this with investing in our program, not only financially, but also with making yourselves available and approachable. You created spaces for us to share ideas, concerns and solutions to complicated issues. You increased our credibility and in turn our ability to raise more support for sustainability. That can have no pricetag.
What’s some advice you would give to people/organizations (like your own) just starting out in this field?
- Start off with a supportive and equally as passionate Board of Directors that will look out for the overall health of the organization AND the overall all health of the Executive Director and all of the staff.
- Be strategic and set short and long term goals. Celebrate each victory no matter how small. Dream together often and be ready for constant change. You have to accept that there are many paths to achieve the goals you want.
- Tap into support groups and have mentors on speed dial. Being a part of the RSWG and creating friendships with other leaders in the movement has been a lifeline that will make the journey easier and more sustainable.
- Have a mandatory self-care plan for all staff members. Practice often and set good examples to the survivors you serve. Your needs are just as important as the people you are trying to help.
- Survivor voices and leadership is very important. Have the participants in your program participate in organizational decisions as often as possible. When their ideas and voices are heard they are more invested in the organization and you will see so much more success in their lives in multiple areas.
Stay tuned to read the last part of their story on Friday!
Every year Shared Hope works in partnership with domestic and international partners, giving them grants to fund their direct service work with survivors and offer them technical support. This year we are graduating 3 organizations from our grant program and want to share with you their journeys!