Light of Hope new location

Light of Hope Board of Directors Stan Harrell, Randall Freeman, Steve Regier, Sheila Urbonas, Mindie Baab with Jerzy the Court Dog, Layla Freeman, Cindy Opperude Griffith and Executive DIrector Nancy Phelps celebrate the opening of their new location. Alisha Smith, not pictured, also serves on the board.

On a mission to support those facing addiction, Light of Hope founder Layla Freeman said the non-profit’s recent opportunity for growth is a blessing from God.

In the middle of a pandemic, Light of Hope was pouring their focus into emergency response. They were busy stocking and distributing the food from their pantry and figuring out virtual support groups. They were trying to stay connected with group members to keep them from relapse.

They definitely weren’t thinking about expansion.

But between a lucky addition to the board of directors, the kindness of an anonymous donor, the giving spirit of numerous people associated with the non-profit, and what Freeman described as a handful of “clear moments of discernment, Light of Hope acquired, renovated and moved into their new building in the span of four weeks.

“To look back at the last six years, starting as a terrifying concept, and watching it grow into all we do now,” Freeman said, was breathtaking.

Freeman added that the timing for bigger space could not have been more perfect, as many people with addiction relapsed or hit rock bottom without social connection during quarantine, and will need the support to recover now more than ever.

Light of Hope’s support groups and classes will be held in the new building, which will also serve as the headquarters of the nonprofit, which still maintains locations in Catoosa and Claremore.

“We have additional space to add classes, and we will be able to provide child care during our support group meetings,” Freeman said. “There is so much more we will be able to provide.”

The new classes include finance, to help people learn to manage their money, and parenting classes focused on helping parents and children from addiction backgrounds. Class sizes will be small, around 5 people per class.

“The child care factor is huge,” Freeman said. “A lot of times parents couldn’t come to group because they didn’t have someone to watch their child.”

The new building is located at 403 W 1st Street in Claremore, across the street from the county jail.

The food pantry will stay and expand at the location on J.M. Davis Blvd. behind the gun museum.

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