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Founder and President, House of Hope, Orlando, Fla.
Retired teacher with 25 years of classroom experience
Awards: National Humanitarian Award from Religious Alliance Against Pornography, Paul Harris Fellow Award Rotary Intl, Florida Champion Award, Habitat for Humanity Award, 2000 Governors Point of Light from Gov. Jeb Bush
Served on National Board, Enough is Enough
M.A., exceptional education, Univ. of South Florida; B.A., education, UNC at Greensboro, N.C.
This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the House of Hope Ministry founded by Sara Trollinger. Saras ministry to troubled teens is growing. "There are 30 Houses of Hope in the pipeline," says Sara. "That means there are seven functioning Houses of Hope around the nation and there are 23 more at various stages of development from incorporation and 501C3 application to procuring funding and properties." Saras vision is to have a House of Hope in every state in the union by 2010.
This former teacher and juvenile detention officer is committed to seeing dysfunctional families healed by first reaching the teen and then his or her parents. Consequently, the House of Hope strategy is very proactive toward the teen and the parents. Teens come to House of Hope via several avenues, including word of mouth, church recommendation, and court assignment. The parents cant see their teen for the first two weeks, but from that point on, both parents and teens are actively involved in a strategy of counseling, visits, and assignments designed to return a well-adjusted teen to his or her home and family. The average stay is 9 to 18 months.
The real proof of the effectiveness of House of Hopes ministry is that they have a 95-perent success rate. Sara attributes this to the fact that the parents are required to be involved with their child through this process. She points out that dysfunctionality in the home is the biggest problem teens face as they mature. If you can get a teen saved and set free of his or her anger towards his or her own situation, the parents will often follow the young person into salvation and a solid family foundation can be established. Sara says parents are too occupied with themselves, their need for money and things, and dont realize kids need parents time, guidance, and love.
HEART FOR TEENS
For half of her years in education, Sara taught emotionally handicapped teens in public schools and state-operated detention centers. Often the youths entered and returned with no solution to their problems. During her listening time with God, Sara envisioned starting a home for runaways. The home would also serve as a place to teach teens Christian principles, while addressing their personal struggles. Sara scouted a site in Orlando, Fla., that seemed perfect. To her surprise, the owners of the site reduced the price from $117,000 to $95,000 with no negotiating from her. She founded the House of Hope for teenage girls in 1985.
Sara says House of Hope was totally a faith venture. She started with five praying friends and $200. House of Hope tithes on all donations that come in to them. The work has attracted the support of national figures. Honorary Board members include Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Rich DeVos, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Pat Robertson. Sheila Walsh is the national spokesperson.
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