Giving Kids and Families Much Needed Cy-HopeEmail This Share This Tweet This
by Dr. Godfrey Hubert, Senior Pastor of The Foundry, as told to TMF
In 2010, I had the good fortune to read Reggie McNeil’s book, The Present Future. In the book, McNeil asked a question I had never considered: “If your church closed its doors tomorrow would the community miss you?”
That question really spoke to me in a profound way. I shared it with church leadership, and we were all uncomfortable with what we believed was the honest answer: If we closed the doors of The Foundry, we didn’t believe our community would miss us. Our members would miss us greatly. But we didn’t feel that the community would really notice we were gone.
That was a painful realization. But it also led to the creation of Cy-Hope in 2011.
For those of you unfamiliar with Southeast Texas, Cypress-Fairbanks is a 188 square-mile unincorporated area northwest of Houston that is the size of Indianapolis. There is no city government, or any of the support services that come with local oversight.
The only unified community-wide presence is the Cypress-Fairbanks (or Cy-Fair as locals call it) Independent School District. Cy-Fair ISD is the largest suburban school district in the country, with more than 114,000 students. While many of these students would fit the profile one might imagine from a large suburban community, almost half of these kids are labeled as “at risk,” meaning they are part of a family of four making less than $40,000 a year. Of these, almost 40 percent of the families make less than $22,000 annually. These are students who are struggling - economically, spiritually and relationally.
We started Cy-Hope to help make life better for these kids.
In just five short years, under the amazing leadership of Executive Director Lynda Zelenka, Cy-Hope has grown in size and impact. We offer a range of services, from after-school tutoring to professional counseling for children and their families; to co-creating Lunch Super Hero, a school lunch support program; and to providing 1,600 backpacks that go home with students on Friday afternoons, filled with enough food to feed them through the weekend when there are no school-sponsored meals and kids might otherwise go hungry.
Despite all we have accomplished, our work only made us realize how much more work needed to be done.
So you can imagine our thrill when Cy-Hope was offered the opportunity to purchase a parcel of land, including four buildings, in the heart of Cy-Fair. In August 2015, more than 60 acres of land was offered to our non-profit organization at a price much below market value by the heirs of Kwik Kopy founders, Bud and Mary Hadfield. Cy-Hope would be able to purchase 8.94 acres of property, along with 33,000 square feet of facilities, for only $500,000. And we needed to act quickly.
While this was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up, it also couldn’t be realized unless we found a way to affordably finance the purchase. That’s when TMF came to the rescue.
Robert Hoppe and the staff at TMF immediately stepped up to show us how we could set up a loan that would help us secure the purchase without affecting any of our services. We closed the loan in February 2016. Cy-Hope now will have a large, beautiful campus that will enable us to offer all of our existing programs, as well as new services, in a single, centralized location.
All of us at The Foundry have been blessed to launch Cy-Hope. But I believe the most important lesson we’ve learned is that if we close our doors tomorrow, the community would do all they could to help us open those doors again, because we are now all about opening doors for others.
Editor’s note: Our TMF blog shares stories and essays inspired by our purpose: to help individuals, families, congregations and like-minded organizations achieve their God-inspired potential. Guest Blogger Dr. Godfrey Hubert discusses how Cy-Hope, a non-profit started by The Foundry – A United Methodist Congregation, was able to take advantage of a one-of-a-kind opportunity to answer the needs of the community – with help from TMF.