As a relatively new organization, the members of Hopefully Sow aren’t wasting anytime getting involved. Started in 2014 by Executive Director, Ash Almonte, love and creativity are at the heart of every project they take on. We talked to Ash about the organization and the good things they are doing in Austin.
TSH: How did Hopefully Sow start and what is your mission?
Ash: We were formed from a group of individuals at Riverbend Church who volunteered regularly at Austin Children’s Shelter and The Settlement Home for Children. Our vision is to empower children in foster care to thrive and follow their dreams. Our mission is to sow seeds of love, joy, and aspiration for children in foster care.
We focus on three areas: attempting to meet the children’s tangible needs, providing activities that are creative and engaging, and exposing them to opportunities to broaden their futures through college, business, and a career.
TSH: What types of projects has the group taken on?
Ash: All sorts of on-site creative activities such as tie-dying shirts & socks, making duck tape wallets, painting, ceramics, making homemade ice cream, and lava lamps.
We have hosted many dinners with our kids at places such Cheesecake Factory, Kobe Steakhouse and Phil’s Ice House. We have also provided opportunities for everyone to burn some energy, experience joy and have some fun at places like Austin Parks & Pizza, Main Event, Dave & Busters, Jumpstreet, and a San Antonio Spurs game, to name a few.
Another area we focus our activities is in our aspiration program. In this area we take the kids to visit business and meet business owners from different backgrounds. We have toured KXAN studios, and spent time with Amanda Tatom, host of Studio 512. They even hosted us for lunch at the studio that day. The Settlement Home girls attended this one ! 😉 It was fabulous. A few other places our kids have visited/toured are Russell Collection Fine Art, Amy’s Ice Cream, and Aveda Cosmetology School and Salon.
TSH: What inspires you to give back to the community?
Ash: The love of God inspires me, and the kids we meet in foster care inspire me. The teens we serve have moved from all over ending up in Austin. After being removed from an abusive environment, they not only leave their home but also their community of support. They relocate leaving behind their extended family, friends, coaches, teachers, mentors, etc. They start all over in a new city at a young age, alone. I feel a sense of responsibility to welcome them with open arms, embrace them, to help them and to inspire them. They are the heart and soul of Hopefully Sow.
TSH: What have been some of your personal favorite projects or moments?
Ash: There are too many to count! 🙂 I keep a little black book with first names and a few words documenting favorite moments with them. I am up to 49 so far. Comments the kids have made like ” this feels like a family” while out to dinner or having an older, aggressive teen boy ask “why are you so nice to me?” or a young teen girl saying “I look forward to you coming.”
I’ve stayed in touch with a child who has been out of foster care for a year and relocated from Austin. I am so thankful to know her and to stay in touch.
Favorite activity – Our first BBQ at The Settlement Home has been one of my favs. We were able to host it for all 3 RTC cottages and had volunteers from all over. There was food, fun, and fellowship! Love was in the air for sure. Some of us were strangers to one another at first but we all left feeling happy and connected. It was a beautiful day! We played games and the girls sang and danced. I heard they had a great time too. It’s for sure a must do again!
|Hopefully Sow members and volunteers at the BBQ.|
TSH: In addition to The Settlement Home, what other groups do you work with?
Ash: Currently, we also work with Austin Children’s Shelter. Our goal is to continue expanding our programs to more teen-focused foster facilities throughout Central Texas.
TSH: Anything else you would like to add?
Ash: At Hopefully Sow, all agree that our lives are richer and fuller because of the children we have been blessed to meet along with some awesome staff members. We are lucky to know them and to hangout with them. Thank you to The Settlement Home for all you do for these beautiful girls and thank you for sharing Hopefully Sow!
|Hopefully Sow members drop off a bedding donation.|
|Ash poses with a donation of cute clothing.|
|Hopefully Sow members stop by The Home with a donation.|