Chef, restaurateur, author and activist Alice Waters once reflected that "this is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive." This quote really captures the essence of a new and hopefully - to borrow a word from Waters - ongoing activity we have started with Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church (PHBC). A few months ago, Jennie Sankey, Associate Pastor for Christian Education and Middle School Youth, contacted Hi-Hope to explore ways to get her middle school students involved with Hi-Hope. After taking a tour and learning a bit about what we do, an idea came to fruition to create a monthly gathering on Sunday evenings that would bring together Hi-Hope's group home residents and staff and the churches middle school students and staff for some casual food and fun. It was ultimately decided that the church would host the meeting to give Hi-Hope's individuals the opportunity to visit a new location. On Sunday, September 9th, Hi-Hope visited PHBC for the first time and it was fantastic!

Hi-Hope's individuals showed up wearing some of their Sunday best and after a short gathering and brief prayer - led by Hi-Hope individual Terri - the doors to a large meeting hall were flung open and dinner was on. The church members and Hi-Hope individuals sat together to get to know one another better. The church served pizza and pasta and Hi-Hope brought sub sandwiches and sweet tea. Ice pops and ice cream sandwiches concluded the meal after which everyone lined up for a Polaroid photo booth and took individual and group shots. Once folks got their pictures, they were given the opportunity to sit down at a picture decorating station to add some additional bling.

Everyone left with a picture souvenir to commemorate the first gathering between these two great community organizations. Hi-Hope wishes to extend its sincere thanks to all the middle school students, parents, church staff and Rev. Sankey for making this possible and we wish to express our happiness at the prospect of seeing you all again very, very soon when we can usher forth the spirit of hope, joy, thoughtfulness and life.