Hands of Hope Fall 2017 graduates

Hands of Hope recently celebrated their Fall 2017 graduation at the First Baptist Church of San Marcos. Graduates from left to right are Nicki Castro, Jacqlinn Mayfield, Kristina Trevino, Crystal Ybarra, Rebecca Natal, Yolanda Guzman and Susie Midkiff. PHOTO COURTESY OF HANDS OF HOPE

On the evening of Dec. 7, during the unexpected snow, seven women celebrated the completion of 10 weeks of intensive study, with a graduation ceremony from Hands of Hope.

Wearing caps and gowns – for some of them, the first time – they walked in procession into the foyer at First Baptist Church of San Marcos to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance," as their families, friends, teachers, mentors and other volunteers applauded.

This tradition has occurred for over 100 graduates of Hands of Hope for 12 years. Organized through an ecumenical effort of many churches in San Marcos, the first class graduated in January 2005. Affiliated with Christian Women’s Job Corps, an international ministry, Hands of Hope strives to provide encouragement, hope, education, confidence and self-sufficiency to women of Hays County

Two 10-week sessions are held each year, providing a Christian context in which women in need are equipped for life and employment. The women are presented a broad curriculum of life, job-readiness and academic skills along with daily Bible study. Classes can change from semester to semester depending on the needs of the participants. Currently, the classes include: Skills to pay the bills (job readiness), math, computers, everyday ethics, writing, reading, English as second language – when needed – language arts, money management, organization, health and nutrition, personal discovery, exercise, Bible study, communication, Bait of Satan (a study on forgiveness) and guest professors from the community. As an ecumenical ministry, there are coordinators, teachers, mentors and advisory council members from many different church affiliations in San Marcos.

Each participant is teamed with a mentor, who meets and encourages her throughout the session. All positions in Hands of Hope are staffed by volunteers and classes are taught by retired teachers or individuals with professional experience in the subjects they teach. And transportation and childcare are provided when they are needed. The participants attend classes Monday through Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunches are provided by volunteers from Bible study groups, churches, community groups and individuals.

As a faith-based ministry, Hands of Hope relies on support from local churches, individuals and grants written to local community organizations. First Baptist Church of San Marcos has welcomed the ministry to use their building and provides monthly and in-kind support.

Tea ‘n More, Hands of Hope’s annual fundraiser, also brings in much needed revenue for the ministry. A high tea, silent auction and style show takes place each spring at the Price Center and promises that everyone will marvel at the beautifully adorned tables set by the hostesses as they enjoy savories and tea. Tea ‘n More will be held this spring on Saturday, April 21.

The graduates from the Fall Class of 2017, have now moved forward, but not exactly on their own. Hands of Hope has a scholarship program that helps graduates go on to further their education. From the class of 2017, two women are beginning dental assistant training through Texas State University’s Continuing Education Program, one woman will be attending the local Austin Community College for further academic training, and two are beginning classes at the San Marcos Public Library in preparation to take the GED tests.

The spring semester of Hands of Hope begins on Monday, Jan. 22. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or attending classes, contact Charlotte Evans at 512-576-0117.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666