Monthly Archives: May 2009

BHITC Welcomes New Family from Burma

The Kha Ra Mot family, refugees from Burma, are among the newest Clevelanders. BHITC volunteers and mentors (pictured left to right) Sarah Filus, Lou Ann Brown and Steve Fackler are partnering with the family to help them adapt to their new home.

new burmese family


“Newcomers” Learn English as well as American Culture

Check out this story from Tuesday’s Plain Dealer featuring students from our African Youth Ministry and learn about the many challenges they must overcome to succeed in Cleveland schools.

‘Newcomers’ to Cleveland public schools without English or American ways have 1 year to prepare for achievement tests

Thanks for Caring and Sharing

The following is a thank you letter sent to Pam Juris, volunteer coordinator for CitySERVE 2009, praising the work of just one of the many groups who helped to make CitySERVE a success.


Our third annual City Serve event at Pine Tree Vistas was once again a complete success. Your young adults worked hard, pulling weeds, shaping our flower beds and planting more than 100 flowers and plants around our building. Your adult supervision was once again excellent, led by Joel Gesch. The weather was beautiful and the rain finally stayed away.

We are already looking forward to the first Saturday in May, 2010. Your efforts each year give us a head start and make it easier for us to keep our landscape looking beautiful for out tenants and community.

Thanks for Caring and Sharing.


Russ Croyle

Director of Operations

Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio

Celebrating a Successful Year

On Tuesday evening, a roomful of tutors, students and parents met to celebrate a successful tutoring year at the Lakewood Lutheran site.  Under the direction of Darleen Koskinen, a wonderful dinner was shared by all and awards were handed out to all students and tutors.  Cleveland Reads provided books for all of the children in the program.

Here are a few pictures of tutors and students. . .



. . . as well as Darleen with her faithful helpers Sarah and Kim (who also tutor).


In addition, check out this short video message from one of the parents.

Year after  year, children and adults are blessed at this site.  Quite a few of the pairs are planning to meet during the summer and recently a number of adults have started receiving tutoring to further their skills as well.  What a blessing!

Out at the Zoo

Written by Brian Upton

Our BHITC mentoring team took the Tua Hit family, who are new Clevelanders by way of Burma, to the zoo Sunday!  We had beautiful weather and it was great opportunity for the mentors to reconnect. Of course, we’re still having a hard time communicating because the family speaks very little English, but it’s funny how the smell of reindeer dung gets the same response no matter what language you speak!


CitySERVE 2009 Photo Gallery

On Saturday, more than 450 people joined Building Hope in the City for a day of service to the Lord and to Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods, churches, schools and social agencies. Here’s a few pix of the day in action…


Packing medical supplies for international destinations at MedWish.


Making greeting cards for residents at 2100, a homeless shelter operated by Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.


Outdoor clean up and painting at St. Philip Church.


Some free time for CitySERVE's youngest participants, who worked for the day at Redeemer Crisis Center


Landscaping for the Neighborhood Housing Association in Lorain, Ohio.

And, of course, there were plenty of laughs!

And, of course, there were plenty of laughs!

Volunteer Spotlight


Written by Vanessa Lange

Beth Piwkowski showed up at the field behind Trinity Church one Saturday afternoon last summer after a friend and BHITC volunteer, Brittany Kubiak, told her about the African refugee children she’d been working with.  Beth stayed and played soccer with the kids that day and has been back almost every Saturday ever since.

The more I have gotten to know Beth, the more inspired I have become by her dedication to these children.  In addition to the Saturday classes, Beth has tutored the kids during the week, brought in reading material for them, taken them to her home and to her church, and has visited them at their homes and had dinner with their families.

Thank you, Beth, for your commitment, patience and love for each of these children!