When Pete Bowen stepped in as interim CEO of Southern California based nonprofit Giving Children Hope (GCH) in 2021, he didn’t know what a passionate and capable team he was joining. Now he’s part of 15 staff members and hundreds of volunteers impacting thousands of Orange County families each year.
GCH is on a mission to help local families develop the leadership and life skills required to break out of the cycle of need. By meeting practical needs and offering support through community and leadership training, GCH envisions a future where families are self-sustaining and successful.
Meeting Practical Needs
Moving toward success in leadership requires more than a simple class or parenting book. Many of the families GCH serves are in great need, struggling to make ends meet to get food on the table or keep gas in their car. For those weighed down by the burden of basic survival, leadership training doesn’t often make their list of top priorities.
To combat some of those obstacles, GCH facilitates multiple programs which help meet the practical needs of local families. These programs include:
We Got Your Back (Backpack swap program)
Each week volunteers fill hundreds of backpacks with up to 30 pounds of food. The backpacks are distributed at 60-85 partner schools where kids swap backpacks to receive staples for their families. Approximately 300 families receive 40-50 pounds of food (including perishables) at a drive-thru location each Friday.
Giving for Living (Amazon & Costco distributions)
Thousands of personal and household items returned to Amazon and Costco are delivered to the GCH warehouse weekly. Volunteers sort and organize items to be distributed to partner organizations where they are given to families in need.
Parenting & Leadership Programs
GCH offers various parenting and leadership programs. These programs teach basic skills that often translate into more involvement in school and academia, healthier family dynamics, and greater financial independence.
This year, GCH is taking their parent leadership program to the next level. Covenant Leadership will serve some of the organization’s most highly motivated families “help[ing] them develop the habit patterns they need to develop leadership skills,” says Bowen. “It’s a simple, highly effective approach that doesn’t just change their supervisory leadership at work, but also by its very nature, helps them become better parents, better people, and have better lives.”
Covenant Leadership will be available for parents and high schoolers, as well as volunteers eager to grow in their serving, personal, and work capacities.
At the core of GCH’s nonprofit success is leadership development. From their staff to their volunteers, to the parents and high schoolers who benefit from their programs, GCH models (and teaches) that “leadership is pervasive to life.” Leadership is not just for the head of a big company, your vote on the ballot, or that talking head on the screen. It’s much simpler than that.
Leadership starts with your own life. It’s one person providing guidance to another: your electrician walking you through an electrical problem, your realtor guiding you through the home buying process, a teacher helping his class learn how to work as a team, or a mom teaching her child how to problem solve.
Leading Through Service
It’s GCH’s volunteers who lead best through service. “When [volunteers] practice love and they seek wisdom and they practice being good leaders, that helps them in their professional development, not just the people they’re serving,” says Bowen.
In truth, when people recognize and grow in their leadership abilities, everyone benefits. Just consider how GCH volunteers show up to serve:
Each week volunteers distribute 45,000 lbs of food to 1,300 families (2,500 kids/2,000 adults)
Each week, volunteers distribute 45,000 lbs of household items through nonprofit partners to children and families in need
Each year, volunteers distribute gifts to 3,000 children during their Christmas Toy Drive
In addition, GCH provides volunteers opportunities to serve through administration, program management, marketing, and tech roles. They are even launching community-focused volunteer opportunities for young adults looking to develop community in 2022. With the impact of COVID-19 on relationships, GCH recognizes the need for connection amongst the next generation.
These Saturday morning volunteer opportunities are designed around having fun, building relationships, and sharing a meal together. The next even will take place February 26th from 9-12pm. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or register online.
Find Out More
Giving Children Hope is on the move in 2022! To find out more about their mission, vision, and what they have in store this year, visit their website or follow online.