Read about how the three founders - Pam, Renee, and Sister Susan - came to meet and build Doors of Hope together.
Pam always had a desire to work with others in need. As a young adult she worked a variety of jobs, thus allowing her to experience families in many different housing situations. Housing for these families would forever tug at her heart. In the years to come, Pam married, had children and raised them to value every person they came in contact with, and they did just that.
Pam’s daughter, Jessica, went on several mission trips to help those in need. She was also a Gold Award recipient and was making this world a better place. Jessica got pregnant her senior year in college. She graduated in May 2016, had a beautiful baby girl and got married. Mr. & Mrs. were united and as a young family and lived with Pam for the first few months and part-time throughout the following months.
On May 23, 2018, grievous news hit the Reisinger family. While in Tampa, Jessica and her sweet baby girl were struck and killed by a drag racing car. This day changed the lives of many. As devastating as this news was, Pam vowed to help others in need to honor the girls. Her deep faith makes this possible.
In Sept 2019, Renee read an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the challenges facing a Cleveland homeless shelter for families and the lack of space for all those in need. This article elicited a deep emotional reaction and started her journey toward helping homeless families. Shortly thereafter, Renee consistently dreamed about her young daughter and her grandson being homeless. In her dreams, they were hungry and asking for help, but no one was helping them. People were passing them on the street as though they were invisible. At the same time, Renee was meeting with Sister Susan Javorek, a Sister of Notre Dame and the pastoral associate at the Church of Holy Angels, as her spiritual mentor. She spoke with Sister Susan about the article and her subsequent dreams. Sister suggested they volunteer at the shelter mentioned in the article, but COVID-19 soon after changed our daily lives.
Fast forward to February 2021. Pam and Renee did not know each other but they were participating in a “Women in the Bible” book study. Sister Susan was the facilitator. The world was still struggling with COVID-19. At the end of the last session, Renee mentioned to Sister the dreams recently started again and she felt compelled to action to help homeless families. As Pam was leaving the room, she heard Renee’s comment to Sister and immediately joined in the conversation. Pam said she too had a passion for homelessness. This was Feb 12, 2021 at the Church of the Holy Angels. JALS Inc. was formed from a strong triangle of the three founders individual journey’s, their faith, and their passion to help others. JALS Inc. signifies two young mothers and their beautiful children. They continue to give the founders strength and hope as they offer shelter for families struggling with housing insecurity.
The founders started meeting weekly to get to know one another, build relationships with the county social service agencies and gain an understanding of the issues in our community. They discovered the need for a family shelter in Geauga County. Nine months later, in November 2021, JALS Inc. purchased a property through a generous donation. The shelter house was a reality and, in the months, ahead became home for many.