Northminster Presbyterian Church commissioned a long-range planning team in 1995 to “dream dreams” and “see visions” (based on Joel 2:28). This led to the development of what was to be called the “Family Life Center” (FLC), allowing Northminster to serve individuals and families in crisis or transition.
Three years later, a home adjacent to Northminster (our current location) was purchased. By September 2000, the first group “Grief,” was offered, with the second offering, “Divorce,” following suit in November. In January 2000, an explosion of groups began, covering a multitude of life’s transitions: “Caregiving,” “Cancer,” “Single Parenting, “Boundaries with Kids,” “Weight Loss,” and
“MOPS” [Mothers of Preschoolers].
A volunteer force of about 100 people joined together to implement the new offerings, and in 2008, Diane Kinsella became the director – a role she remains in to this day.
Northminster experienced some financial difficulties in 2012-2013 that necessitated a hard look at staffing. While the FLC was not essential to the church, the prevailing sentiment was that the congregation wanted it to survive because it had such an important mission that was helping neighbors from all across the Tri-State.
At the time, more than 40 groups had been offered to a diverse population of thousands – many of whom had no affiliation with Northminster.
The FLC team spent 2014 researching and developing plans for the best way to organize ourselves and our relationship with Northminster. The recommendation, approved in October 2014, was that the Family Life Center would file to become a non-profit corporation, and in November 2014, “Journey to Hope” was born.
Our 501(c)(3) status was granted on May 24, 2016. Currently, the work of our Board of Directors is focused on fortifying our organizational structure, redefining our relationship with Northminster, and fundraising.
While the program itself has changed over the years (some groups have been retired, while others have been developed), a mindset of experimentation prevails. We are continually “sensing” in the community where needs are, and when we find something that we can address, we develop groups – sometimes in conjunction with other organizations, or in response to their requests.
In the last three years, Journey to Hope has added coaching groups to its programs of support – largely due to Diane Kinsella’s training as an International Coaching Federation (ICF) certified-coach, in addition to a growing awareness of the appeal/acceptance of coaching as a practice. Even the “Grief” support group was converted into a coaching group. The subtle difference is that there is a bit more attention on the “moving forward” part that the younger generation, in particular, finds attractive.
Journey to Hope’s vision for the future includes more partnerships with other organizations, including the possibility of “taking our show on the road” to other locations. The physical space we currently occupy is a limiting factor, so this is one way for us to continue to grow the population we serve.
Finally, what we offer is unique. We are the only support/coaching provider with a continuum of care in one organization and location in the Cincinnati region. This is precisely why people will travel upwards of 50 miles to participate in our programs.