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June 25 2015

Partner Testimonial - Valerie Gilchrist

Valerie Gilchrist is one of the HOPE Inside Orlando Partners that has truly been an advocate for our work at Operation HOPE! Since even before the commencement of our partnership she has relentlessly encouraged her McDonalds franchise employees to take advantage of HOPE services and because of this we have already reached several of them through both one on one counseling and group education services.  

I reached out to Mrs. Gilchrist to share her sentiments about our partnership:

Why you think that the services we offer are important?:  "Offering an opportunity for an individual, single parent or family to own their home is a great opportunity that increases quality of life. When children can have a good night’s rest because they are in a comfortable, safe, and secure family environment, promotes their ability to stay focus on their educational endeavors at school without the hardship of wondering where they will lay their heads at night whether it is in a car or sleeping in the woods. More than realized, there are many people still living in homeless or near homeless situations without a sense of hope. Many have given up and thrown up their hands in despair because of credit card debt. Your program focuses on those who are employed or underemployed who may have never been taught financial responsibility, how to pay bills in alignment with their paychecks, how to save for a rainy day, and are living from paycheck to paycheck; thus, sought out credit cards as a means to an end without the adequate understanding of the end result—so much debt that they cannot afford to pay them or pay for anything else but daily living. Your program is giving them a sense of hope by teaching them that with a little financial discipline and paying their bills on time, that they can truly own their own affordable home that fits within their financial budget. Your program is giving them the tools for success. Your program is bringing smiles of hope back on the faces of those that were once hopeless with the realization that they can now have the American Dream."

How can Operation HOPE's free services benefit your employees and the community?:  "Homeownership increases quality of life and brings a sense of pride to individuals and families.  People will live more responsive and productive lives when they are striving for a better tomorrow for their selves and their community. This stability in essence will increase community involvement in the role of political elections, school advisory boards and many other community volunteer opportunities.  This enhances community inclusion; thus increases community unity."

What you hope to gain from this partnership?:  "Better dependable, committed, reliable employees from a professional perspective.  From a personal perspective—People who are living the American Dream.  People who become more aware of opportunities available to them to increase their livelihood; people who get involved in their community to make a difference for their children, their neighbors and their community so that we all can live a better quality of life in this community and in our country—the USA—the land of the FREE.  I am proud to be an American and an ambassador for Christ fulfilling the Great Commandment as identified in Matthew 22: 37-40."

HOPE Inside Orlando is truly grateful for our partnership with Gilchrist Enterprises and we are all excited about the work that we've put in so far as well as the great things to come from this partnership that is so relevant to our mission!