The Beauty of Our H.O.P.E. Boxes

by Aakash Suresh

Earlier this year, the Junior Advisory Board (JAB) Chair, Celeste K., hosted their first in person monthly JAB meeting in October 2021 at the Pelican Community Park in the City of Sunny Isles Beach, (the space was donated by the city, we are thankful). Celeste organized and arranged this meeting in October. With the help from her fellow leaders and members, Celeste set up the making of H.O.P.E Boxes for our meeting.

H.O.P.E. Boxes which stands for “Having Only Positive Expectations.” are shoe boxes containing toiletries, snacks and sometimes a sandwich – typically a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or ham/turkey sandwich, along with juice, water, fruit and toiletries. The JAB Members enjoys this type of program as they get to personalize it by writing a note of encouragement to let the recipients know that people care about them and that their lives can get better with hope and faith.

The members were assigned to a station during the meeting, and each had a role. This inclusivity created an even closer environment in such a short amount of time, bringing together these JAB Members for a more significant cause. The discussions in the meeting included the new ideas of fundraising for Joshua’s Heart as well as upcoming food drives that were to take place. Some ways to fundraise that came up was to project the ideas around one’s school, otherwise called word of mouth. Overall, the meeting consisted of the making of the H.O.P.E boxes, new ideas to fundraise, and normal debriefings about what was going on at JHF & JAB in general.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the balance between school and multiple extracurricular activities during these strenuous times was very stressful for many people. When the members found out we would have our first in-person meeting since the pandemic, they were ecstatic and excited to get back and work as a team in person again. The members’ happiness was seen through the heartful and fun conversations held while making the H.O.P.E. Boxes.

JAB Vice Chair Abhishek states, “The meeting in which we created the H.O.P.E. Boxes was fulfilling and exciting,” a statement that I believe all members could relate to. An environment where we were able to create something magical to fill someone else’s shoe.

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