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Hope and Vine: The Origin, Growth, and Transformation

Hope and Vine former foster youth

This is the origin, growth, and transformation of Hope and Vine, a nonprofit working with former foster youth.

Life is a journey of growth and transformation. When beginning this journey, we may have a clear vision of where we want to end up, or we may just simply have an idea of the direction we want to go. Regardless, it is a guarantee that we will not be the same once we arrive. An organization is no different. It is a living thing made up of many different parts, all of which will go through their own transformation. 

Hope and Vine: The Origin

In 2014, Rachael Smith began a blog to be an encouragement to moms and she named it “Oh Lord Help Us”. Soon after, she realized her real passion was in encouraging women to be who God created them to be. She wrote a small study on replacing lies we believe with God’s truth. Additionally, she made jewelry with words on it as a way to remind women of those truths.

The writing ministry grew to include a group of writers writing a daily devotional, and Rachael kept making jewelry as a way to share the messages they were writing about. During this time, Rachael and her husband were going through the process to become foster parents. Through their foster care classes, they learned what happens when foster youth age out of the system, and they were not ok with it.

They wanted to help, but were unsure of how to do that in the right way. One day, as Rachael was trying to find time to make more jewelry, it became clear. She needed to give them the job. By giving them a job, and working alongside them, she could also walk with them and be a mentor as they navigate through this difficult transition of becoming an adult without a solid support system.

This is why, when we became a nonprofit in 2018, our name was Oh Lord Help Us. We were doing many different things to help many women. We were scattering a lot of seeds. 

Hope and Vine: The Growth


There was one seed that sprouted quickly, Hope and Vine. This was a social enterprise that would provide employment and mentoring for young women who have aged out of foster care. 

But - It was just a part of what we did.


That first year took a lot of energy and like any plant you want to grow in a healthy way, we underwent quite the pruning. This pruning meant letting go of the other things we were trying to do as a nonprofit. 

It was quite painful, but definitely necessary. This was a season of refining, not a season of growth.


First, we had to deepen our roots. We knew what to do, but we needed to do it better. Throughout 2020 and 2021 we began to take the steps to focus on who we were serving, what was possible to do, and where we wanted to go.

This meant clarifying and focusing on what it is we do. Yes, we provide employment, but that is simply the means that allows us to:

  • build relationships, 
  • mentor, 
  • listen, and 
  • understand their needs so we can get them connected to resources that will be beneficial.


Twenty-twenty-two was a process of growing slow and steady while still being able to deepen our roots. 

Early in the year, we hired a Site Director. This role allows our participants to connect with needed resources, coach them through making a plan for their next steps, and make sure that each of them know they are cared for. We also moved our workshop supervisor into an operations role, which allows us to stay organized and be efficient.

Also, we officially changed our name! It was time. As we grew and become refined, it became clear that Hope and Vine made more sense for our identity and focus.


In 2023, we are learning to be resilient. Resilient means being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. To keep going when there are set backs. 

Last year, we had plans to open a second location. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Partnerships we believed would be a sure bet, fell through. Team members we planned to hire couldn’t accept the position. 

Set back after set back. Yet we kept moving forward, taking one step at a time. Instead, we are utilizing the resources we already have and doubled the work days at our shop in Wake Forest. 

Hope and Vine: The Transformation

Hope and Vine looks much different from where it began, but the heart behind what we do is still the same. We want to provide encouragement and provide support for women in need. There is a lot of negativity in this world, and we are constantly fighting to silence the lies we believe. This is true for us, for our customers, and for the young women we serve who aged out of foster care.

This is the origin, growth, and transformation of Hope and Vine, a nonprofit working with former foster youth.

Items seen in picture: Hope Hoodie, Grace & Grit Shirt, Fearless Shirt, Hope Shirt, Abide Earrings, Promise Earrings, Bloom Earrings, Joy Earrings


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