Ambassadors in Action
HSF Ambassadors all over the country are helping homeschool families right where they are—serving as the hands and feet of HSF. Ambassadors are local volunteers who offer tangible help to homeschool families in need and put homeschool families in financial distress in touch with HSF funds.
Arizona Ambassador Julie McDermott is a mother of four, including a newborn, and has been homeschooling for four years. She was already serving at her church to help needy families, so becoming an Ambassador seemed like a natural fit and a great opportunity to extend her gifts.
“When a family is suddenly in a crisis situation, I try to connect them with the resources they need,” she said.
McDermott was able to help a homeschooling family struggling to pay medical expenses for Evan, their son with Leukemia.
“He required months of mostly in-patient chemotherapy and then relapsed and required more treatments and procedures,” Evan’s mom wrote HSF. “Yet, fifteen months later, as Evan steadfastly prepares for his bone marrow transplant to take place, he and his two younger brothers are not just surviving but thriving in their respective studies. By setting reasonable expectations, staying flexible on where and how we ‘do school,’ and incorporating a lot of oral vs. written work, they have managed to make remarkable academic progress while growing in their relationships with the Lord and with each other.”
As soon as McDermott heard about the family, she interviewed the mom and submitted the family for consideration to receive some of the funds she had helped raise for her state’s Ambassador Fund, which HSF matched.
“We are very grateful to the Home School Foundation and the HSF Arizona Ambassador Program for the financial gifts we have received. They have allowed us to address Evan’s medical expenses while continuing to homeschool our boys,” said Evan’s mom.
Another project McDermott implemented involved a single mom of two children with special needs who was experiencing severe financial hardship. Her boundary fence was irreparably damaged, and her HOA was threatening legal action if she did not fix it immediately.
McDermott made connections with the local Home Depot, and using HSF as the umbrella organization for donations, arranged for the donation of materials for a brand new fence.
Ever resourceful, McDermott has also coached gymnastics classes in exchange for canned goods for another single homeschooling mom, has attended several “Homeschool Day” events to share HSF’s message, and has represented HSF at a state organization conference with the purpose of telling others about the assistance available to struggling homeschool families through HSF.
T E X A S
Texas Ambassador Gina Vormelker has three sons and has been homeschooling since the oldest was in preschool. As a long-time HSLDA member, she felt her heart tugged when she heard stories about homeschoolers across the country and world facing so many struggles. Then she realized that, even though Texas was homeschool-friendly, there were also families struggling locally.
Vormelker started out by hosting a Mary Kay fundraiser as a birthday party for herself—asking the ladies who attended to bring a “gift of giving” in place of a birthday present. She shared about the Foundation and many in the room were moved. From that fundraiser and the matching funds HSF provided, Vormelker provided a Christmas gift of money to each of four struggling families with a total of 10 children in the San Antonio area, making it a more cheerful holiday for them.
Since then, Vormelker has been connecting local homeschool projects with HSF so that funds can be raised locally, matched by HSF, and dispersed for projects helping the homeschool community. She desires that many families learn about the assistance available from HSF funds.
One such project was a community effort to comfort and aid a homeschool family with five children who suddenly lost their father and husband to cancer. The church fellowship donated a large sum to the Texas State Ambassador Fund so that the funds would be matched by HSF and more could be given to the grieving widow and children.
Vormelker said when she tells people about the program they are enthusiastic. “Some have expressed an interest in becoming a Community Ambassador which is great since there are so many homeschooling families in San Antonio and the surrounding areas,” she said. “It is impossible to reach everyone, but with several ‘hands and feet’ we can have greater impact.”
Cancer also hit a family in Georgia— this time the mother—leaving the husband and children in shock. A Georgia Ambassador rallied the support of a local group to make a donation to the Georgia State Ambassador Fund so the funds could be matched by HSF and a doubled amount given to the hurting family.
Massachusetts Ambassadors Robert and Darlene Muto are homeschool veterans who taught their four children from preschool on. They avidly support HSLDA and the mission of HSF, so when their state homeschool organization asked them to consider being HSF Ambassadors, they were glad to represent the charitable arm of the organization they had loved and trusted for over twenty years.
The Mutos have embraced the role of Ambassadors, both raising funds and working to find families in need. In conjunction with their state homeschool group MassHOPE, they are selling homeschool tote bags to raise money for their state Ambassador fund. They are also working on organizing a benefit concert with homeschooled musicians.
The Mutos said they want to be receptive to the needs of those who cross their path and work together with their homeschool community to meet needs. They have watched that community come together to “assist a widow (of a pastor) with yard work and gutter cleaning; mow the lawn of a family whose dad was recuperating from back surgery; do farm chores and building projects for a family which experienced a financial set back; supply food and home repairs for a mom with five children whose father left the family.”
Most recently, they added HSF’s resources to those of two churches to help a nearly destitute homeschool family clear out the family home, rent a dumpster, repair the car, and relocate to Florida due to a job lay-off and home foreclosure.
The Mutos say one of the best parts of being involved with the HSF Ambassador Program is seeing “the hands and hearts of those in need lifted up, the Lord being glorified, and those who do get involved experience the joy of the Lord as a result of their services.”