25 years of Hope in Northeast Ohio
BOYS HOPE GIRLS HOPE (originally known as the Jesuit Program for Living and Learning) was founded in 1977 by Father Paul Sheridan, SJ, in Saint Louis, Missouri. Father Sheridan’s unique residential model for talented and motivated young men was designed to reflect the Jesuit tradition of developing young people in the spirit of ‘cura personalis’ – the whole person. More than three decades later, Boys Hope Girls Hope has grown to include affiliates in fifteen U.S. cities and two foreign countries and in doing so, has created countless opportunities for amazing young people coping with extremely challenging life circumstances.
In 1989, the Jesuit Program for Living and Learning opened the doors of its first residential home on the campus of Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls and for the next ten years, the program provided young men with the opportunity to live in a structured, nurturing home while attending Walsh Jesuit High School.
By the late 1990s, the Board of Directors felt that the program’s successes merited a capital campaign that would expand the program’s capacity through addition of a home for girls. In 1999, the Board acted on their vision and launched the ‘Roots and Wings’ campaign with the purchase of a second home (located in Garfield Heights). With the exciting addition of a girls home, the program adopted a new name – Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeastern Ohio.
Not coincidentally, the home purchased in Garfield Heights happened to be the cornerstone of what was formerly a 5-home family estate. Under the perseverant leadership of Executive Director Anne O’Donnell, the effort to gradually acquire these homes and re-develop the estate into a centralized first-class campus became a reality. In February of 2009, the Board’s vision was concluded with the dedication of the seventh and final building, a multipurpose Convocation Center that can accommodate all staff and scholars.
The Campus for Hope is centrally located with respect to Northeastern Ohio’s Jesuit schools and mirrors the high quality of education that Boys Hope Girls Hope provides to its scholars.
The campus features three residential homes, an administrative office, a small fitness center, and a convocation center affectionately referred to by scholars as “TLC – The Learning Center.” Residential scholars live in one of three beautiful 90-year old homes which are named after some of our long-time benefactors: they include the Benacci Home for high-school boys, the Murphy Home for middle and high-school girls, and the Moock Home for middle school boys. The campus is safe and secure with a shared back yard, basketball court, a vegetable garden and reflection garden.
In 2007, the program expanded beyond its campus gates with the formation of a non-residential program targeting talented middle-school aged youth attending under-resourced schools. Hope Prep is now a vibrant program serving more than 100 young people each year.