Katie Sandquist just wants other women to be real.
“At House of Hope, we empower, encourage and equip women and their families to live well. We are a place where women can come and be honest that not everything is perfect,” said Sandquist, executive director of House of Hope in Cedar Rapids.
“You are welcome if your brokenness is hidden or if everyone knows you need help. You can feel safe here.”
House of Hope is a faith-based not-for-profit organization that offers a variety of classes, including discussions on parenting, marriage, eating well, forgiveness and finances.
“We have about 50 to 70 women coming through the house in a given week for our classes,” Sandquist said.
House of Hope also got its start as a residency program in 2002.
“Sometimes a women’s environment is what is standing in the way of her freedom, and she needs to totally step out of it to heal. Women come here for a season of growth because it is safe,” Sandquist said.
House of Hope also offers individual as well as marriage and family therapy through a partnership with Mount Mercy University.
Sandquist, who’s held her position since May 2012, also handles administrative functions such as managing the budget, filing reports and market outreach.
The most common misconception is that House of Hope is for “those women,” Sandquist said.
“This place is for all women,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how messy your story is. You won’t be judged.
“And it doesn’t matter how shiny your story is. Everyone can come here to experience tremendous freedom.”
It doesn’t hurt, Sandquist said, that House of Hope makes its home in “an amazingly beautiful Victorian home.”
“This place has great energy and is a place where you experience grace. We so desire women to connect with that,” she said.
While at the University of Kansas, Sandquist thought she was interested in a career in marketing but was quickly hooked by a psychology class. That is when she decided to peruse a career in community relations within the not-for-profit sector.
“The issues that would grab at my heart were those that affected women,” Sandquist said.
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