Board of Directors

HHMB Annual Report

Our Mission is to provide a healthy environment for registered Myrtle Beach High School students who are designated homeless and who are actively completing their academic requirements to receive a high school diploma.

Hope House of Myrtle Beach Board of Directors:

Mary “Cookie” Goings, President & Co-Founder

Gretchen Abney, Immediate Past President & Co-Founder

Allysa Leibman, Secretary

Towanda McClary, Treasurer

Randy Jennings, Director

Phyllis Marlette, Director

Diane P’Pool, Director

Sharlene Zwing, Director

George W. “Bo” Bryan, Advisory & Co-Founder

Myra Starnes, Advisory & Co-Founder

  • Our Executive Board (officers only) meets the second Tuesday of month @ 5:30 PM
  • Hope House Board of Directors meets quarterly the second Tuesday of the month @ 5:30 PM

From the President

H.H.M.B. President’s 2016 Annual Report, General Mtg., M.B. Fire Station #6, February 15, 2017

The 2nd Annual Resolution Run on Saturday, January 2nd started our year out with a bang! Grande Dunes members participated in the walk/run whose fees amounted to a seven-hundred-ninety dollar ($790.00) donation from our Community Sponsor, the Anchor Café and McConnell Golf which is the managing company for the Grande Dunes properties. Director Sue Cranford joined our volunteer in charge of the HHMB Closet and Pantry, Phyllis Marlette, to reduce the size of our holdings to clothing which is currently in season, toiletries, detergent and paper products only. Canned goods along with other staples such as peanut butter, cereal, instant potatoes and mac and cheese as well as the clothing were reorganized to also better accommodate the smaller space the school had moved us into last year. Sign-out sheets were added to our procedure as previously discussed with the board. These reflect how often the closet is visited, by whom and for what, along with the staff member who authorized the visit. This gives tracking to substantiate the service the closet/pantry provide. Ms. Marlette is there every Tuesday from 10-12 to receive goods and keep things orderly. She is invaluable to this vital part of Hope House. Other operations included our ongoing property search. The Hope House Building Fund continues to grow as we seek a property within proximity to the high school. Meanwhile, we continue to look to our Myrtle Beach High School surrogate parents to house our unaccompanied youth when no family members are available. The city agency, New Directions, was able to house in the Center for Women and Children one of our female students together with two sisters who were Hope House students but now attend Horry-Georgetown Technical College. The apartment provided is large and comfortable and the building well supervised. The center assists clients with non-emergency, long term, transitional housing; is safe and well located for certain unaccompanied youth. Hope House pays for the electricity bill through New Directions. We also housed a male youth in the newly renovated facility, New Directions for Families. These two (2) city shelters allow Myrtle Beach to now adequately house and assist many unfortunate homeless who want to improve their circumstances.  Though children will always be a singular entity not to be mixed in with adults unless properly supervised, Hope House is living up to its mission of providing a safe and healthy environment for its students through every avenue we can create. We continue every means we can manage for outreach. In addition to managing a web site and a Facebook page, we also publish a quarterly newsletter, the data base from which we look to turn into a membership program in the future. At the close of the school year, Hope House had served thirty-four (34) McKinney-Vento students. Eight (8) unaccompanied youth were among them, all of whom graduated. Seven (7) of those students went on to college and the remaining one (1) enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Hope House purchased luggage for every one of these students and created a policy to do so for all of our graduates each year.  We also served other seniors throughout the year whose families were below poverty level. Hope House of Myrtle Beach exists to serve ALL underprivileged students at M.B.H.S. in their efforts to get a degree; which means those who have not self-reported their circumstances for federal assistance through the McKinney-Vento Act are still a part of Hope House. During 2016, the following achievements included:

Conflict of Interest statement from all directors filed
Property search pursued
Attention to past donor list evaluated
Chronology of student testimonials continued
Annual Budget formalized and approved
Strategic Plan 2016 & Business Plan 2015-16 implemented
Hope House mission reevaluated (by Executive Committee and Board)
I.R.S. / S.C. State 2016 fillings accepted
City and community relationships nurtured
Coastal Carolina University opportunities pursued
Grants sought and need for writer again acknowledged
Community food and clothing drives streamlined
International brunch sponsored

–  over –
H.H.M.B. President’s 2016 Annual Report, General Mtg., M.B. Fire Station #6, Feb. 15, 2017, p.2 of 4

S.C. College Application Night at M.B.H.S. sponsored
Holiday Programs to sustain students through vacations expanded
HH supply closet and pantry reorganized and holiday needs prioritized
Meetings with M.B.H.S. Administrators for coordination of efforts advanced
M.B.H.S. Cafeteria outstanding lunch fees paid
Weekly distribution of clothing and groceries from school pantry tracked
Prom formal attire for our students arranged
Board of Directors exemplary commitment noted
Fund Raising Standing Committee managed
Community Fund Raising sanctioned
Grande Dunes Resolution Run
Ladies Day at the Races
Market Common Fashion Show
Trinity Church Christmas Program
Beaver Bar Breakfast Benefit
Piggly Wiggly at Market Common
(Lowcountry Giving Day)
Community support sponsorships
Anchor Café Dollar Darts
Grand Strand Magazine
Seahawk Luncheon Group
First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach
St. John Greek Orthodox
Ocean View Baptist
Unity Christ Church
O.D.M.B. Assoc. LLC
Trinity Presbyterian Womens Assoc.
Public Relations and speaking engagements throughout the community sustained
Ladies of the Moose
S.C. State Columbiettes
Chicora Rotary Club
Kiwanis Club of Myrtle Beach
First United Methodist Church Women
Church Women United
SC ADK Teachers Conference
S.C. Masons & Daughters/AEOMNMS
M.B. Garden Club
Murrells Inlet Rotary Club
Chicora Book Club
DelMar Book Club
Archibald Rutledge Book Club
Samaritan Circle
Lyncean Book Club
Grant applications advanced
PNC Bank Grant ($25,000.00)
M.B. First Presbyterian Church ($3,540.36)
Jackson Family Fund/Waccamaw Community Foundation  ($5,000.00)
Webster Rogers Foundation ($750.00)
Coastal Community Foundation ($618.15)

H.H.M.B. President’s 2016 Annual Report, General Mtg., M.B. Fire Station #6, Feb. 15, 2017, p.3 of 4

Media coverage received
Print – MB Herald, column mentions Red Nose Day; Grand Strand Mag Mkt Common Fashion Show
Radio – WEZV/WKZQ Red Nose Day; Anchor Café Dollar Darts; Resolution Run
T.V. – WMBF/Red Nose Day; WMBF, WECT, WBTW/Market Common Fashion Show
Marketing plan defined
Social Media/web site/Facebook expanded and improved
Rack Card well utilized
Quarterly newsletter published

Hope House continues to receive an impressive amount of community support during the year. The number of businesses, churches and groups who chose us as a beneficiary through either fund raising events and/or donating funds grew and speaks to the kind of response we have received to the crisis of these homeless students. Clothing drives and canned food drives by various organizations have been continue and are now directed by need and response. Collections for specialty items such as toiletries and paper goods are ongoing club projects. Once again, Hope House must acknowledge the generosity First Presbyterian Church of M.B. has shown us. Gratefully, the Myrtle Beach High School Guidance Department acts as our operations central. The holiday shopping trips for our Unaccompanied Youth arranged by First Prez  with them each year are such a treat for these kids. Costco participates in the celebration of the holiday season for our unaccompanied youth. And the relationship we maintain with the school’s administrators and staff is the backbone of our efforts to effectively reach out to those teens needing assistance in their goals to get a sound education and graduate.

This year Hope House celebrated Red Nose Day again! On May 25 we gathered at the Anchor Café with our noses on and enjoyed taking part in this coast to coast campaign to end hunger in children. P.S.A.’s were sent to print, radio and television and coverage was good. This kind of event with a national campaign is great to piggy back because of its splashiness which costs us nothing. Our electronic mailing list is growing and we still look forward to developing a membership program through our quarterly newsletter which is one of our long term goals. The rack card used to describe Hope House and what we do as well as to acquire contact information from interested parties continues to be our primary marketing piece. Reaching the students themselves who are in need of our assistance may always be slightly challenging. But the board continues to look for ways to do so. The poster created last year is still being utilized and is posted throughout the school and in recreational centers as well as a few other spots like the Boys & Girls Club. Other long term goals like seeking more host families to take in unaccompanied youth demand attention. We have been successful at getting some of the area churches to print this search in their weekly bulletins. Hope House feels that placing our teens in a family environment is more conducive to their all round development. Concerned with helping the student to feel less obliged and more independent, the board developed a policy to give host families a stipend toward his or her room and board.

Always conscientious of being good stewards, the Executive Committee, or elected officers of Hope House, have also given much thought to appropriating funds toward compelling areas of want. We identify those privileges which come with being a senior and provide funds for students who ask for assistance in paying for class photos, year books, prom tickets, senior trips and graduation because we believe in the value of giving them a great high school experience.  As of last year, policy now includes that Hope House underwrites all these expenses for our unaccompanied youth recurrently. And it is our mission to financially assist any and all McKinney-Vento students by their immediate needs. This is a significant allocation of our funds which we are always looking to expand and the for which the board believes our donors fully support.

H.H.M.B. President’s 2016 Annual Report, General Mtg., M.B. Fire Station #6, Feb. 15, 2017, p.4 of 4

Again, this holiday season was busy and productive for Hope House. Holiday meals were distributed both at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So many civic clubs, church groups and individuals made our students a part of their Christmas observance. Food and clothing drives were many, matching the wish list we circulated. Gift cards were donated in abundance and our Treasurer created a more exacting way to track them. Over ten-thousand dollars ($10,000.00) was received in donations during December.  Our short term goal of growing grant writing was substantiated in our application to PNC Bank who awarded us $25,000.00 to be spent on students attending summer specialty camps. The money was a blessing we could not utilize the way we had all hoped. We were able to send seven (7) students t the Grow Me leadership camp for teen girls at Coastal Carolina University. This was an excellent experience for them. And we were also able to send some twenty (20) boys to athletic camps under the tutelage of Coach Wilson. Hope House also applied for participation in the Low Country Day of Giving which will made its selections in the spring of 2016. Unfortunately, this event which has always been run by the Coastal Community Foundation, was turned over to a fund raising company as it had become too much for the Foundation to continue on its own. The transition did not go well and the .C.F. discontinued the event for the future. It remains clear to us that we need someone to pursue these avenues of grant writing for us “full time”. We continue to identify other needs of our organization to match them with skills and talents of our Directors. We acknowledge that commitment to duty is fundamental to the Board of Directors performance. Additionally, I am pleased to report that Hope House has taken another step forward in our having invested both a portion of our funds into a C.D. as well as moving our money market account to C.C.N. Bank for their better interest rates.

Respectfully submitted,

Gretchen G. Abney