This year, I’ve had the privilege of stepping into the program coordinator role for Hope Forward. Though the vision was familiar to me when I took the role, I’ve fallen more deeply in love each day with its origin in the college's Christian roots. Because of Jesus, we are compelled to live differently: to seek justice, love kindness, walk humbly, and receive His grace afforded to us by no merit of our own in order to give it generously. .
Right now the program consists of two cohorts of students engaging in the three pillars of our program: community, accessibility, and generosity. As opposed to academic merit or socioeconomic need, these 58 incredible people received the opportunity to participate based on their answer to this question: "How might you bring about hope in areas of hopelessness?"
So what does this have to do with flowers?
Because of their shape, poinsettias are used at the holidays as a nod to the star of Bethlehem – the star whose light pointed to Jesus and His grace that would provide the world with a way forward in an unexpected way. I believe that on this side of eternity, we experience our own stars of Bethlehem: lights that lead us to the One whose grace continues to provide new ways forward in unexpected ways.
I have the honor of walking with these 58 students during this early stage of the Hope Forward program. Daily I watch them seamlessly live out our three pillars of community, accessibility and generosity as they navigate college, discern next steps and participate in life on campus. For me, each one of them is one of those stars. Through their willingness to partake in something that is a way forward for future students who will experience the program, these shining stars will lead the way for the sustainability of Hope College and perhaps for the landscape of funding in higher education.
Additionally, poinsettias are a traditionally recognized symbol of goodwill and community spirit. Each one of these pieces is titled after a moment during which I experienced a student showing those attributes. 50% of all sales will go towards Hope Forward Scholarships.
If you are interested in learning more about Hope Forward, feel free to explore more here.
If you'd like to give to the program, click here and select "Hope Forward Scholarships".