It started with a vision… thousands of people stretching as far as the eye could see down an urban street dressed in their wide array of ethnic attire drawn together in some common identity. I (Nicole) was towards the back of the seemingly endless parade with a face covered in sheer joy, beckoning those on the sidelines to come and join this triumphant, hopeful journey.
One by one, through various connections, those individuals in the parade emerged as real people with tragic and powerful stories. They had names. Their origins stretched from Bhutan to Congo, Iraq to Burma, Somalia to Cuba and beyond. They were the resettled refugees of our world, and quickly they became our friends.
As if the vision were coming to life, a number of people from the “sidelines” began to join in, leading to five of us moving into the heart of the neighborhood of Syracuse, NY where the majority of the 10,000+ and growing resettled refugees/new Americans now call home.
For months our dinner table was bursting with these friends, laughter and lessons. After several months, we responded to their request and our desire to share more of our lives, and we opened up our door and home one night a week for a shared meal and English conversation. As the tip of our front yard to the edge of the back burst with a growing group of people, we knew this was only the beginning.
Several years later, we now have two homes on the block with 10+ people who have intentionally moved into the neighborhood for the mission and vision of Hopeprint. Hundreds of people from our neighborhood and the community at large have joined what we call our “Hopeprint Family.” While we offer various programs and opportunities several days a week now to invest in the lives of our neighbors, every part and piece of what we do goes back to it’s roots of relationships. Relationships change lives, becoming a people of hope empowered to thrive. We dream of the day our collective will be the catalyst for a unified neighborhood rich in culture and community.