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My story of Hope

Photo of Verlanda Bethelmy Bruney with Mr. Kamal Shehada, Summer 2022

It’s Verlanda here, better known as Vee. In this blog I am going to tell you a bit of my story – a story I will never forget. I call it my story of hope and it’s also what makes H.O.P.E the organization what it is today.

In the summer of 2016, I found myself at my wick’s end.

I had gotten married at age 21, birthed 7 children, we were meant to accomplish this together—not on my own—so you can imagine how overwhelmed I was, and how much my candle was consistently being doused as I was single-handedly caring for my family while also grieving the life I had envisioned and constructed over many years. Despite being a very self-driven and focused person; the emotional and financial load was becoming difficult to carry.

A bright spot that summer was Range Developments; they were giving scholarships to aspiring high school kids, but by the time I learned about it, it was too late for me. But I couldn’t let that stop me since I was thinking about my children, so I moved forward to search for the individual in charge of distributing the scholarships. That’s when I met Mr. Kamal shehada, a complete stranger who offered me the chance to explain my feelings to him, listened to me, and then said something that I will never forget.

“Verlanda, the worst days of your life are your best days of your life!”

Photo of Verlanda Bethelmy Bruney with Mr. Kamal Shehada, Summer 2022
Photo of Verlanda Bethelmy Bruney with Mr. Kamal Shehada, Summer 2022

I was instantly aware that this was a divine encounter for those words warmed my heart and sparked a light of hope to my doused candle.

Mr. Kamal went on to assist me monetarily a few days later, which was really appreciated, as you might understand. But his words are still with me because they sparked a passion in me to help others in the same way he helped me.

I pondered the fact that if I am married and single-handedly managing a large family on my own then what about my neighbor, who must juggle similar circumstance on their own? When the task becomes too much, what do they do?

This sparked a desire inside of me, – a problem that I needed to find the solution for, and while working on outreach initiatives in Dominica’s rural communities with Kamila (CSR Manager for Range Developments), I was even more moved by how much the persons needed assistance. The chance to volunteer brought me great delight and helped me get closer to my objective in a meaningful and substantial way. I saw the happiness and relief that came to people when their needs were satisfied, but I also observed that there was a yearning for spiritual and emotional connection. I’ve learned over the years that true transformation begins on the inside, and I’m sure that’s true for other people as well. Keeping all of this in mind, I designed an organization to serve as a resource for everything I needed as a “single” mother and sourced like-minded people to serve, create plans, and carry out this mission which blossomed into Holistic Outreach for Parents Empowerment Inc. – (H.O.P.E).

We believe that the world will be a lot brighter if we can just light one person’s candle (a euphemism we use for hope), and they continue to light other people’s candles. This is my story of hope and the story of H.O.P.E.

Thanks for reading my story and see you on the next blogpost.





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