Riverview resident Christine Kramer is a mom of two daughters on the autism spectrum. She has a passion for being the hands and feet of Jesus, and her greatest desire is to serve those who are considered vulnerable, especially the people who are developmentally challenged. As such, Kramer is also the founder of Hope 4 Life.
“Hope 4 Life was born out of the challenges I faced trying to find support and services for my daughters,” Kramer said. “When my oldest daughter was getting ready to graduate high school, I found there were no supports to help her transition to adulthood.”
Kramer spent years networking with parents of children with similar challenges. Finding schools, doctors and other professionals willing to work with her were daunting tasks.
“I learned the tremendous amount about what it takes to support an individual with disabilities, so I took what I learned and began Hope 4 Life,” Kramer said.
Hope 4 Life’s main focus is to equip and empower individuals with disabilities by assisting them in developing pathways of independence which lead to a fulfilling life.
“It is very difficult to do this as a small agency,” Kramer said. “I truly believe that it takes a village of people using their gifts and talents and their heart for service to help individuals who cannot live their lives without support. We currently rely on state funding through APD (Agency for Persons with Disabilities) Florida, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our doors open. I have seen agencies around me closing their doors because they simply can’t afford to do business anymore. There are so many people who need assistance to live meaningful and productive lives.”
Kramer believes Hope 4 Life is so much more than just an agency that helps.
“We consider ourselves to be a family, and we spend time together when we can,” Kramer said. “We go bowling once a month, staff and clients. We partner with other groups in the area so clients can attend dances, picnics and other fun activities and meet others in the community like themselves. Our purpose is to give dignity and hope to people who might otherwise be overlooked or written off. If given a chance, and with the right support, they can live their lives just like any other able-bodied person.”
To learn more about Hope 4 Life, find the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Hope4lifeu.