With an original donation of $500 and the help of many friends, Kathy Foster and Bill Jones opened Casa de Esperanza's first home for children in crisis in 1982. Additional programs have been developed in the following years, including developmental and educational services. In 1986, Casa de Esperanza became the second agency in the nation and the first in the greater Houston area to recognize and respond to the need for specialized residential care of children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. It's now the longest running program of its kind in the country.
Casa de Esperanza also provides safety, hope, and a home to children whose families are affected by domestic violence, substance abuse, poverty, homelessness, and mental illness. The facility cares for children from birth to age six, and referrals come from family shelters, hospitals, and Children's Protective Services. The organization provides residential care and coordinates medical and psychological services according to the needs of each child. Since opening nearly 30 years ago, Casa de Esperanza has cared for over 4,000 children and their families.
Neighborhood volunteers assist the Casa de Esperanza staff with daily child care and participate in activities such as reading, art projects, outdoor play, holding and feeding infants, meal preparation, and light household chores, and are also asked to make a six-month commitment to volunteer once a week for three hours at a specified time. To learn more about neighborhood volunteering and other opportunities to get involved, such as support services and helping with special events, head here.
Casa de Esperanza's annual signature fundraising event, the Building Hope for Children Gala, raises funds for Houston's abused and abandoned children who otherwise would live without a safe home. For over five years, the event has brought in over $1 million in support. Because Casa de Esperanza does not charge for any of its services and does not receive government funding, it depends on the generosity of the community for continued support and growth. This year's gala is May 5th, 2019, at The Hobby Center for Performing Arts.
Casa de Esperanza's Young Professionals was formed to support the mission of Casa de Esperanza through volunteerism, fundraising, and increasing public awareness of the needs of children. Members enjoy networking opportunities and social events with an emphasis on philanthropy and fun. This talented group of young professionals has brought fresh energy and excitement to the work of Casa de Esperanza.