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MEET KRISTYN STILLWELL OF HTX H.O.P.E. HAVEN IN NW HOUSTON
VoyageHouston | May 26, 2020
Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristyn Stillwell.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristyn. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Since I was 16, I have either worked or volunteered for non-profits. Spent a lifetime of being connected to people less fortunate. In 1999 my husband and I set out to figure out in the materialistic world we live in we wanted to see how to stay humble in such a blessed place. I stumbled across the book by Bruce Wilkerson “A Life God Rewards” In this book Bruce points out that when you serve someone who cannot serve you back then that is the life that God rewards. For us it is a place where we can stay humbled in a life with many material blessings. After moving to Houston where we could not find a place to serve the less fortunate, we decided to make up 50 plates of food for Thanksgiving and hand them out to the people holding up the signs on the street corners. We continued this practice each year and began to save up some money to do it more often. Then one day I handed a man a plate of food and he said, “God Bless You.” I went back to the care shaken and crying. My world would never be the same. My husband asked me what was wrong. I said I fed that man in that spot two years ago and I do not even know his name. Long series of praying and searching we found four families interested in feeding the people along one stretch of highway and we began to feed every Sat. As a result of the consistency of being there every week we began to form relationships build on trust and respect. They started out asking for Tennis Shoes and T-shirts because of the trust they had they began to ask for help with ID’s, connecting them with family, even mental health issues and addiction. This led us to helping 70 people get off the streets over five years on the side of our work, families, and other activities. Even today 45 of those original people are still off the streets. We grew from four families to four churches. It now consists of 13 different organizations that have over 1000 volunteers and serve 2000 meals a year. Friends began to ask what would happen if we did this full time. My answer was always it would be dirty, smelly, hot and I would not have a paycheck. So, I did what every other entrepreneur would do I write a business plan for a business that I did not want to start. I brought it to a successful businessman to see what he thought. He said, “Yes Let’s do this.”
We build relationships with individuals on the streets as a means to inspire a sense of purpose.
Unlike other programs, we view individuals holistically, addressing mental, spiritual, and physical health needs.
We provide life skills training and help connect with job readiness and job training programs.
Each person is surrounded by a mentorship team dedicated to their lifelong success.