We welcome THE HOPE CENTER shop to the PAD Conference Expo. The Hope Center in Nigeria is the vision of Bishop Erik and Pastor Kelsey Swope-Wise to create a safe space where teens, young adults, single pregnant teens, and those with HIV/AIDS who have been cast-off, abandoned or forgotten can come and find a place of HOPE. The Hope Center offers coaching, counseling, job search assistance, skills training and safety.
The Hope Center Shop is an outlet for products designed and created by the youth. They bring to the conference an array of African clothing and jewelry. All of the garments are the designs of Jide Anthony, a 19-year-old Hope Center resident. Anthony was one of these young boys who had been thrown out of his family home due to his sexuality. The Hope Center gave him a new family and a place to call home. He has now regained his focus and designed a clothing line that is being shown and sold both in Nigeria and in the United States. This is a project of HOPE that we can all invest and share in. Changing lives, one heart at a time! Do not miss The Hope Center shop! They can also take special orders.
Creation of The Hope Center was in direct response to the Republic of Nigeria’s harsh anti-gay laws. Conviction under the law for homosexuality is 14 years imprisonment. If a member of the LGBT community is found by anyone to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender, the law states that they must be turned in to the police. This would include a mother or father reporting their own child.
So many of these young people are abandoned, thrown out of their faith communities, disowned by their family, terminated from their jobs and often time end up running for their lives because of the “shame” that their families believe their child’s sexuality has brought upon them. Young people in this situation wind up homeless and living on the street. The Hope Center has created a safe space that houses, cares about, and makes family for anywhere from 8-32 young people on any given day.
The young people develop skills and talents that will enable them to become self-sustaining and financially independent. The Hope Center operates a skills training center that provides a complete MicroSoft Suites certification program, cosmetology training (hair/skin/nails), a fashion design studio (clothing/jewelry/shea butter), resume preparation and job placement assistance.