Je’net Kreitner is the Founder and Executive Director of Grandma’s House of Hope (GHH). Kreitner founded GHH in an effort to give back to a community that helped her rebuild her life after she experienced an episode of homelessness in 1991. She now considers her trials a training ground that prepared her to carry forward the blessings of a loving God. Je’net has been working with the homeless since 1998, beginning with a monthly Homeless Outreach at her church in Orange and volunteering with The Gleaners Jail Ministry Team. Between 1999 and 2008, she worked full-time with non-profit organizations that serve the poor in Orange County. Her past experience includes Special Projects Manager at Second Harvest Food Bank, Program Manager/Associate Director of Development for Giving Children Hope and Senior Case Manager for “The Village of Hope,” OC Rescue Mission.
Je’net has been awarded the “Women Helping Women” Ruby Award by Soroptimist International Garden Grove Chapter, for her work with Human Trafficking and the “Woman Making a Difference” Award by Senator Lou Correa. She was named Founder of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for the 29th Annual National Philanthropy Day 2014. The OC Register also named her as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People of 2014.
Click the PLAY button below to listen to a recent radio interview given by Je’net on ‘Crack the Code’, a radio show run by Rhonda Sciortino at www.rhondasradioshow.com.
EXCERPTS FROM THE RADIO INTERVIEW:
Tell us a “success story” involving someone you’ve worked with.
I work with a lot of human trafficking survivors, women who have been deprived of their right to have a voice or make their own choices, even about the smallest things, like when to eat, what to eat, which way to turn at the corner. It is a long journey for these women to find themselves. It is like learning to walk and talk for a child. Many of these women are terrified to even ride a public transit bus, or take a walk to the store. They believe for the longest time that you are going to “turn” on them–it takes an eternity to earn their trust.
One such young lady, who had been sold into sexual slavery by a family member for over two decades, came into our shelter and had a hard time adjusting to the environment. She was with us just one week when she told me, hesitantly, that she did not think she could stay. I remember standing by her bed and looking into her eyes. I know she expected me to tell her that she would get used to it, and that she should stick it out. Instead I told her that she had a choice.
She looked at me suspiciously and said, “Well, I actually was not going to leave until later this afternoon. Is it OK if I stay until then?” I said, “Of course, stay as long as you like, if you don’t want to leave until tomorrow , that’s OK too.” I can’t tell you how surprised she looked. “Really, you would let me do that? I was sure you would tell me to get out right now.” So she did end up leaving, that was her choice, but about 3 weeks later, she called me from another county and asked if I meant it when I said she could come back. I assured her that I did, and asked her if she needed some help getting home.I told her that if she felt she needed to go, that was okay with me–but that she could always come home when she was ready.
This young lady has been in our program now for almost a year, getting counseling, medical services, case management and job training. She was able to get a good job, where the supervisors are telling her they would like to see her in management someday. She has a therapy dog who gives her all the unconditional love she can handle and listens to her secrets. We love her and are blessed to be a part of her journey through hope and healing.
What are ways listeners can lend their support to Grandma’s House of Hope?
Listeners can be a part of our support family by volunteering with us or donating online at our website. We are a non profit-charity, and donations are used to provide specialized services for uniquely challenged women in crisis and hungry children in Orange County. Some of the other ways you can help are:
You can also sponsor one child in our Nana’s Kidz program for just $30 per month. This program feeds homeless children, living in motels, over the weekends and summer months when school is out of session. Each child receives over 616 meals per year, a backpack and school supplies, pair of shoes and haircut, seasonal outreaches for dental support and vaccinations and at some locations, we offer after school programs on site at the motels.
If you would like to sponsor a bed for a human trafficking victim or a homeless woman in treatment for breast cancer, you can adopt a bed for just $500 per month (or sponsor any part of that), which provides a woman with food and shelter, case management, group and individual counseling, wardrobe assistance, job search and computer skills training, and most importantly, a safe and loving environment in which to heal.