In 2002 Pamela unexpectedly found herself a single parent and was left to raise three small children on her own. In the wake of this staggering life circumstance, she saw it as an opportunity to reframe the situation of being a single parent; into a positive resource for her and other single parents who would pass through the same treacherous waters she had been able to successfully navigate because of God’s grace and mercy.
Thusly, she established The Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program, LLC. Emerging HOPE is a practical family fortifying program that is committed to providing ethnically-diverse marginalized individuals, single parenting households, and families with the tools, resources and services to promote healthy individual and family functioning.
Emerging HOPE humbly started as an educational program that offered culturally relevant parenting classes to under resources, marginalized single parents. Moreover, utilizing her own life experience as a former single parent, Pamela wrote the multicultural- interactive curriculum that was utilized when teaching parenting classes. In the classes participants were taught how to strengthen family dynamics by managing finances, enhancing parental relations and navigating community services.
Furthermore, with great enthusiasm and drive to offer additional services, in 2003, Emerging HOPE was awarded a generous grant from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (under the fiduciary agent of the Kalamazoo Dream Center) to support its family strengthening classes. Additionally, in 2007, Emerging HOPE was awarded a second grant from Kalamazoo Community Foundation making it possible for Pamela to facilitate one year of parenting classes (utilizing the Emerging HOPE curriculum) at Family & Children Services. Furthermore, January 2008 Emerging HOPE looked for means to enlarge the capacity of the educational program to incorporate mental health counseling, life skill training, coaching, and mentoring. They were privileged to come in contact with Bread for the Journey of Southwest Michigan (a group of philanthropist who give micro-grants to people who have an idea to make our community more healthy, just, and wonderful) whom provided a copious grant to support the expansion of their outreach services, website design, and the purchase of various office supplies. The greater part of Emerging HOPE funds are raised through private gifts, altruistic endowments, web giving, and fundraisers. A sliding fee payment scale based on income and family size is available to those with no insurance. Medicaid as well as much other insurance are accepted. Emerging HOPE provides services to all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay.
Moreover, several years ago Emerging HOPE warmly welcomed an innovative co-director, Pamela’s husband Curtis. Curtis is a natural leader and gifted public speaker. He serves in many service-oriented capacities throughout his community. Upon completing high school Curtis pursued two years of ministry training at the Assemblies of God Bible Institute in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania, upon graduating he returned to Chicago where he served as a Biblical Counselor and a Program Director at the Chicago Teen Challenge. Soon an opportunity presented itself for him to help with the planting of a culturally diverse urban ministry under the direction of Reverend Bob Brennaman, a renowned evangelist. On November 5, 1979, he was ordained as a licensed minister under the auspicious of the Illinois District Council of the Assemblies of God. Curtis has been in long-term recovery for many years and is passionate about helping others who are challenged with addictions and co-occurring disorders. As Certified Recovery Coach, Peer Support Specialist and Lay Counselor, he has far reaching individual and professional involvement in the psychological well-being and recuperation of people struggling with mental health and addictions. Moreover, he currently is an Associate Minister at his congregation and is also a contender for a Bachelor of Theology degree (B.Th.) at the Apex School of Theology in Durham North Carolina.
Curtis and Pamela pride themselves with providing culturally relevant services in partnership with their participants. The Robinson’s have discovered that there are numerous advantages of serving together as co-directors. Serving as a couple has benefits that go beyond bonding, contentment and peace. There’s a sweet intimacy that comes with working together on a service project or giving together to those in need. They believe having embraced God’s call to serve together has resulted in an added closeness in their relationship. Per the Robinson’s, there are special moments and memories that naturally come when they do things together. As an earth-shaking, cutting-edge couple they make it their mission to help one another realize all the potential God has created in each of them. The Robinson’s take pride in the fact that God has teamed them up to serve as co-directors of Emerging HOPE. They firmly believe that God intends for them to enjoy both ministry and marriage. Per Curtis, “There’s no one like us, and we were tailored-made for each other.”
Likewise, participating together in ministry opportunities – whether in their church, neighborhood, community or the world – has helped them to grow in their faith as a couple. Working side-by-side to fulfill the Great Commission – in whatever capacity – has deepened their spiritual intimacy like little else could. They find that being the Lord’s witnesses by serving, giving, encouraging, caring and loving as Jesus loved is rewarding beyond words. According to the Robinson’s, in the end, it’s not really about them, is it? It’s about them – the poor, the needy, those who need a touch from God. They are no strangers to having people tell them what a blessing it to see them in ministry together.
The Robinson’s have found that because God has created man and woman to complete each other having the full counsel of the male and the female perspective when confronting ministry issues is invaluable. Likewise, the opportunity to have both a woman and a man present to deal with issues relevant to each gender has is a great benefit to their ministry. The Robinson’s firmly believe effective team ministry begins with a healthy marriage and family grounded in a whole and holy relationship to the Father through Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. As a dynamic team of two – the Lord has placed a heavy mandate in their hearts to reach out in the marketplace and in the kingdom like never before. The Robinson's charge husbands to release the storehouse of wisdom and anointing that God has given you in your helpmeet. And wives, come alongside your partner in ministry and watch the results God births through your teamwork.
Emerging HOPE has been successfully partnered with a vast number of culturally-diverse community agencies in Kalamazoo County: The Kalamazoo Dream Center, Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, New Focus National, Fox Ridge Apartments, New Genesis Incorporated, Family & Children Services, Bread for the Journey, West Michigan Glass Society, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Sherman Lake YMCA, Beach Point Christian Camp, The Volunteer Center of Kalamazoo, Project Connect, City of Kalamazoo MLK Day of Caring, and Northside Ministerial Alliance Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration.
Since its inception in January 2002, Emerging HOPE participants have experienced an increase in self-esteem, learned budgeting skills, cultivated educational goals for their families and regained custody of their children. Likewise, 25% of the participants enrolled in courses to complete their GED’s and 10% enrolled in community college. Furthermore, 30% of their (pre)teenage children as well 50% of the parents enrolled as volunteers with the Kalamazoo Volunteer Center to serve in the community. Moreover, 80% of their children received full camp scholarships to attend the West Michigan Glass Society, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Sherman Lake YMCA, and Beech Point Christian Camp.
Emerging HOPE has hosted Ten Annual Mental Health Forums at strategic locations in Kalamazoo County. The purpose of the forums is to empower participants and to bring awareness to a social cause. This aim of the 10th Annual Mental Health Forum was to decrease mental health stigma and increase awareness of mental health recovery. The Robinson’s believe with the right tools, everyone can be an advocate for individuals to access needed resources. They desire to inspire others with our message of hope and to show others they are not alone.
On April 8, 2016, Curtis and Pamela were featured guest on National Public Radio, NPR with host Earlene McMichael. To listen to the interview - click on the link http://wmuk.org/term/emerging-hope-family-strengthening-program.
Moreover, in March 2015, the Robinson’s were featured guest on Valarie Lego’s Live at Five – WZZM 13 Grand Rapids for a television interview pertaining to the topic “Understanding the Impact of Stigma on People with Mental Illness.” Moreover, each year the forums have expanded to include an array of professionals, religious leaders, and support services. Additionally, in 2015 the forum's professional capacity expanded to the degree that Emerging HOPE was privileged to begin offering participants 0.4 Western Michigan University CEUs and 4 Michigan State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) for attending.
The Robinson's are open for whatever the Lord has in store for their ministerial journey.
"Every Round Goes Higher and Higher!"