LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sometimes you need a helping hand to pick you up. In Arkansas, Restore Hope has been that for those in the justice and foster care systems. Since 2016, the group aims to reduce the incarceration rate and the need for foster care. 

Tonight, the group celebrated its achievements, including how one family lost everything but got it all back through the initiative’s help.

The Myer’s story touches on every point of why the governor and faith-based organizations came together and formed Restore Hope. Tonight, they stood beside giants in the agency’s first award ceremony.

Walking into the governor’s mansion, Patrick and Amanda Myers are at heights they never thought they’d achieve. This mountaintop experience is one they climbed from a pit of despair.

“Sometimes it’s kind of overwhelming to look back and think about that time,” Amanda admitted.

Three years ago, Amanda and Patrick were addicted to drugs, had issues with work and housing, and eventually, their children were taken by the state. They were “crushed” and didn’t get out of bed for a week.

“You feel like you don’t belong back. Like you belong in a corner somewhere. Embarrassed to come out,” Patrick remembered. “We finally thought we’ve got to do something.”

A case worker connected the Myer’s to 100 Families, a Restore Hope initiative to move families from crisis to career.

Paul Chapman, Executive Director of Restore Hope Arkansas, said they were in trouble and needed some help.

Chapman said, “We started sequencing things properly, and they did the work. It was just a clear pathway before them.”

Three months into the program, Patrick and Amanda got their children back. That was not the end of their journey.  There were times of setbacks and even relapse and homelessness, but the team of professionals within the alliance don’t give up on people. In time, came a new home, car, and for Amanda a career as a case manager within Restore Hope.

“We have so much more to fight for. We got that chance to kind of redeem ourselves that we didn’t think that we’d have,” Amanda expressed.

Their story is one of many celebrated Wednesday night as Restore Hope had its first award ceremony. It’s not the only thing the Myer’s are celebrating as they have another baby on the way, and they are excited about the new world they are bringing him into.

“The passion they need, they help you find that,” Patrick said of 100 Families and Restore Hope. “Just like they helped my wife find that, and without passion, you fall back pretty quick,” he added.

Amanda said, “It still continues to be difficult, but it’s worth it to have that. Something to be proud of.”

Restore Hope presented Governor Asa Hutchinson with the inaugural Hope Award for his contributions to Restore Hope and its missions.

If you’d like to learn more about how it has helped the Myer’s and others, visit RestoreHopeArkansas.