As the saying goes "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Having found out that this proverbial phrase was the bona fide truth; when faced with an adversarial situation she exhibited a positive can-do attitude, making a potential sour predicament into a positive circumstance. Accordingly, in January 1994, her courageous journey by way of single parenting began. During this time Dr. Robinson found herself a divorced African American woman, left to raise three small children on her own. Although she was devastated by the situation, in the wake of the staggering life circumstance, she saw it as an opportunity to re-frame the situation of being a single parent into a positive resource for herself and other single parents who would pass through the same treacherous waters, she had been able to successfully navigate because of God’s grace and mercy.
Consequentially, on a blistering frigid winter morning in January 2002, she brought an idea that had been propounding around in her head for several months into fruition. As a single parent living in Public Housing with little money or resources; she took a leap of faith and sought out avenues on how to start a parenting program. Thus, the Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program (Emerging HOPE) was birthed. Its mission was to help single parents gain independence and better their lifestyle, making them capable of providing the best possible living situation for their children.
Moreover, when developing the program, Dr. Robinson interviewed parents, volunteers, and external collaborators to obtain firsthand information on what they personally felt an effective parenting program consisted of. While seeking funding for the program, she established and maintained effective relationships with internal and external philanthropist while gaining their trust and respect.
Furthermore, utilizing her own life experience as a single parent, she wrote Blossoming with HOPE: Parent Educational Manual. The multicultural-interactive manual is utilized when teaching community-based parenting classes.
Additionally, as a single parent, she was gravely concerned about her children’s academic well-being, especially during summer month breaks. Research confirms that all students lose ground when they are away from the academic setting during summer breaks. Without question, an academic decline is more prevalent for low-income learners and African American children whose loss in terms of reading acumen is a disturbing two to three-month drop in reading levels.
Therefore with this concern weighing heavily on her mind, Dr. Robinson was driven to find a way to enhance her children’s academic, social, and emotional wellbeing with summer learning opportunities. Consequently, she decided to involve her three children in summer recreational activities. Yet, with a limited budget, how would this be possible? Therefore, she sought out scholarships so that her children could participate in an array of summer programs at little or no cost. Moreover, she applied directly to the camps, as early as possible. All the camps she applied to offered some financial support for her family. Likewise, she continued in that vein for 10 years as her children were on summer breaks; continuously reaping the benefits of summer camp scholarships.
Equally important, Dr. Robinson's desire was to share what she learned about seeking summer camp scholarship funding with other single parent families who were struggling financially. She realized that the parents wanted to have opportunities for their children to participate in camp and other educational programs during the summer as well. Without question, Dr. Robinson believed that children whose families were financially disadvantaged should have the same opportunity as children from affluent homes.
Therefore, she founded the Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program - Urban Summer Camp Program. The program was started to help children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds reap the benefits of social emotional learning, math, science, resiliency skills, leadership skills all while addressing mental and emotional concerns, while attending residential camps and community based summer program at little or no cost.
Indubitably, most parents expressed that summer camp was an incredible gift for their kids. They voiced taking pride in being a part of a community that values and supports their children.
Dr. Robinson valued providing educational support and resources to children, families, and community members; to the degree that she purposely passed these attributes down to her children. Subsequently, she taught them to be compassionate, loving and to always be the best they could be. Moreover, she taught them to value education and to always strive for academic excellence.
As a result of their selfless-dedicated nature, in April 2009, the three of them (Andrea, Jermaine, and Carmela) received The STAR (Sharing Time and Resources) Awards, honoring community volunteers. The Kalamazoo Gazette and the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo annually give the awards. They were presented the award during a ceremony at the Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites. The three volunteered a total of three hundred hours in 2009. They served at the following Organizations: Kalamazoo Deacons Conference, Heritage Community-Amber Way, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo Drop-In Child Care Center, Portage District Library, Housing Resources Inc., The Salvation Army, City of Kalamazoo's MLK Day of Caring, 1560 The Touch Benefit Concert, Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, SPCA of Southwest Michigan, Kalamazoo Gospel Mission's Rescued Treasures store, Galilee Baptist Church, and the Volunteer Center's VolunTEENS Advisory Board.
More importantly, in April 2009, while a senior in high school, Jermaine was awarded a generous scholarship from the Portage Rotary Club. Students who receive the scholarships must have high academic achievement, dedication to community service, and commitment in academic excellence.
Notably, in April 2013, Carmela was honored with a Certificate of Academic Excellence by the Focus at Kalamazoo Valley Community College for maintaining a grade 4.0 point average throughout her tenure as a student.
Presently, Andrea and Carmela are academically gifted college students and Jermaine is pursuing his passion for fitness and has joined an industry where you can be your own boss as a fitness trainer.
Markedly, since Emerging HOPE’s inception, participants have experienced an increase in self-esteem, learned budgeting skills, cultivated educational goals for their families and regained custody of their children. Likewise, 25% of the participants enrolled in courses to complete their GED’s and 10% enrolled in community college. Furthermore, 30% of their (pre)teenage children as well 50% of the parents enrolled as volunteers with the Kalamazoo Volunteer Center to serve in the community. Moreover, 80% of their children received full camp scholarships to attend the West Michigan Glass Society, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Sherman Lake YMCA, and Beech Point Christian Camp.
Climactically, with great enthusiasm and drive to offer additional services, in 2003, Emerging HOPE was awarded a generous grant from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (under the fiduciary agent of the Kalamazoo Dream Center) to support its family strengthening classes. Additionally, in 2007, Emerging HOPE was awarded a second grant from Kalamazoo Community Foundation making it possible for Dr. Robinson to facilitate one year of parenting classes (utilizing the multicultural-interactive) at Family & Children Services. Likewise, in January 2008 Emerging HOPE looked for means to enlarge the capacity of the educational program to incorporate mental health counseling, life skill training, coaching, and mentoring. They were privileged to encounter Bread for the Journey of Southwest Michigan (a group of philanthropists who give micro-grants to people who have an idea to make our community more healthy, just, and wonderful) who provided a copious grant to support the expansion of their outreach services, website design, and the purchase of various office supplies. The greater part of Emerging HOPE funds was raised through private gifts, altruistic endowments, web giving, and fundraisers. A sliding fee payment scale based on income and family size was made available to those with no insurance. Medicaid as well as much other insurance were accepted. Moreover, Emerging HOPE provided services to all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay.
Subsequently, Emerging HOPE has successfully partnered with a vast number of culturally-diverse community agencies in Kalamazoo County: The Kalamazoo Dream Center, Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, New Focus National, Fox Ridge Apartments, National Alliance on Mental Illness, New Genesis Incorporated, Family & Children Services, Bread for the Journey, West Michigan Glass Society, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Sherman Lake YMCA, Integrated Behavior Health, Gryphon Place, Living Water Ministries, Beach Point Christian Camp, The Volunteer Center of Kalamazoo, Project Connect, City of Kalamazoo MLK Day of Caring, and Northside Ministerial Alliance Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration.
Most eminently, in two-thousand ten, Emerging HOPE warmly welcomed an innovative co-director, Dr. Robinson’s husband Revered Curtis L. Robinson, Sr. As a natural leader and gifted public speaker, he served in many service-oriented capacities in the urban-community. As Certified Recovery Coach, Peer Support Specialist and Pastoral Counselor, he had a reputation for being able to effectively help people struggling with mental health and addiction challenges.
Consequentially, Reverend Curtis L. Robinson, Sr. has served as the Co-Pastor of Emerging HOPE Ministry for nine years, fifteen years of service as an Associate Pastor, and a total of thirty years of preaching the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is a man of God who has clearly been endowed by the Holy Spirit with the gift to teach and preach. He is a lover of people and one who works well with others. Reverend Curtis L. Robinson, Sr preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ with conviction and clarity and demonstrates that he is a “doer of the Word” through his conversation and community volunteerism. His spirit is open to serve in whatever capacity the Lord sees fit to use him.
Moreover, Dr. Robinson has served ministry for 30 years and has a seasoned and powerful word to release to the body of Christ at large. As the Founder of the Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program, Emerging HOPE Christian Counseling, and Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of the Emerging HOPE Ministries, Dr. Robinson is an esteemed author that has published the first, second, and third editions of Blossoming with HOPE: Parent Educational Manuel, The Color of HOPE: African American Mental Health in the Church, A Dissertation “Education the African American Church Towards Those with Mental Health Challenges to Have an Attitudinal Change, and “Blooming with New Coping Skills” a set of Educational Social Skill Development Flashcards for children. Dr. Robinson has more than 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector, academic, faith-based, and human service institutions with an incisive knowledgebase that is essential for working with culturally diverse populations.
Dr. Robinson is an alumnus of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work—Cum Laude (1986) and a Master of Arts of degree in Social Work (2009). Dr. Robinson is also an alumnus of the former Apex School of Theology, Durham, North Carolina where she earned Doctor of Ministry degree in Biblical Studies - with High Academic Honors (2017) and a Master of Divinity degree - Cum Laude (2016).
Dr. Robinson put to use her academic knowledge base while giving back to her local community. Wherein, planning, organizing, and hosting the Emerging HOPE Mental Health Forum at strategic locations in Kalamazoo County for twelve consecutive years. When researching how lay the foundation for the forum, to Dr. Robinson utilized empirically supported mental health interventions referenced in her dissertation to designed a replicable culturally relevant mental health model. The model was utilized as the foundational structure for first-annual Mental Health Forum in Kalamazoo County.
Subsequently, throughout the twelve years of hosting the forums, she learned that disenfranchised people need a healing community, whereby they can receive support and resources oftentimes via unconditional methods. Additionally, she learned about the importance of collaboration and dialogue among a pastors, faith-based institutions, practitioners, policymakers, community members, recipients of services, and others.
In effort to further educate the community about mental health disparities in the African American community, in March 2015, the Robinson’s were featured guest on Valarie Lego’s Live at Five – WZZM 13 Grand Rapids for a television interview pertaining to the topic “Understanding the Impact of Stigma on People with Mental Illness.” Moreover, each year the forums have expanded to include an array of professionals, religious leaders, and support services. Additionally, in 2015 the forum's professional capacity expanded to the degree that Emerging HOPE was privileged to begin offering participants Western Michigan University Continuing Education Credits (CEU) and Michigan State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) for attending. Therefore, allowing the conference to be marketed to professionals who wanted to attend to obtain CEUs and SCECH to maintain licensure. Accordingly, on April 8, 2016, Curtis and Pamela were featured guest on National Public Radio, NPR with host Earlene McMichael as they shared about mental health disparities in the African American community.
Moreover, to more fully reflect the partnership of their ministry and to fully embrace its mission of preaching the gospel, providing professional, effective leadership and advocacy services to ethnically diverse individuals and families, that they officially change its name from Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program to Emerging HOPE Ministries.
Emerging HOPE is a ministry committed to preaching the gospel, evangelizing, educating, equipping, and empowering under-resourced individuals, single parenting households, and families with resources, practical assistance, emotional encouragement, and social networking to better their lives, and those of their children. The ministry promotes the well-being of the individual, family, and community through programs, services, and information. Emerging HOPE is rapidly being recognized as the go-to resource in the urban Kalamazoo area for helping to promote mental health in diverse communities, cultural perspectives on mental health, knowledge, hope, and healing to individuals, families, and communities touched by mental illness.
Having changed its tax-exempt status from that of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to a Nonprofit Corporation 501(c)(3) several years ago; the Robinson’s felt that to more fully reflect its mission of preaching the gospel, providing professional, effective leadership and advocacy services to ethnically diverse individuals and families, that they would officially change its name to Emerging HOPE Ministries in December of 2019.
Likewise, the ministry expanded and added additional services as follows:
Lotus Flower Podcast
Lotus Flower Book Club
Empowering Worship Services
Culturally Relevant Counseling Services
Outreach Programs for Urban Youth
Brown Bag Support Group for Therapist, Clergy, Human Service Professionals, and Urban Youth Program Leaders (former)
Holiday Gift Baskets Giveaways
Self Determination Living Consultation Services (Adults with Intellectual Disabilities)
Emerging HOPE Guiding Principles:
Emerging HOPE empowers socially and under-resourced parenting households towards self-sufficiency, while adding value to families.
Emerging HOPE engages under-resourced individuals and families in meaningful activities to nurture leadership and influence in the community.
Emerging HOPE strengthens under-resourced individuals and families through spiritual enrichment activities.
Emerging HOPE empowers children, adolescents, and adults to live healthy, fully functioning lives.
Emerging HOPE promotes the well-being of the individual, family, and community through programs, services, and information.
Emerging HOPE utilizes strategies to help promote mental health in diverse communities.
Emerging HOPE offers resources which are helpful in addressing and reducing minority mental health disparities.
Emerging HOPE's interpersonal skills are our best quality. They are comfortable in presenting a positive public image interacting with potential donors and communicating with various levels of stakeholder.
Emerging HOPE takes considerable pride in running a successful organization and in developing relationships.
Emerging HOPE is committed to helping people live healthy lives.
Conversely, Curtis and Pamela pride themselves with providing culturally relevant services in partnership with their participants. The Robinson’s have discovered that there are numerous advantages of serving together as co-directors. Serving as a couple has benefits that go beyond bonding, contentment, and peace. There is a sweet intimacy that comes with working together on a service project or giving together to those in need. They believe having embraced God’s call to serve together has resulted in an added closeness in their relationship. Per the Robinson’s, there are special moments and memories that naturally come when they do things together. As an earth-shaking, innovative couple they make it their mission to help one another realize all the potential God has created in each of them. The Robinson’s take pride in the fact that God has teamed them up to serve as co-directors of Emerging HOPE. They passionately believe that God intends for them to enjoy both ministry and marriage. Per Curtis, “There’s no one like us, and we were tailored-made for each other.”
After answering the call to ministry, in 1979 Reverend Curtis L. Robinson, Sr. initially received his ministerial license under the auspices of the Illinois District Council of the Assemblies of God, while Dr. Pamela Robinson initially received her ministerial licensed in 1999 at Emmanuel Covenant Church International in Battle Creek, MI under the tutelage of Bishop Hugh D. Smith, Jr. Likewise, in 2019 the Robinsons each were ordained as Elders and elevated to the office of the Pastor under the leadership of Apostle, Dr. James A. Rorie, Founder and Overseer of Faith Deliverance Cathedral Ministries, Inc., Hollywood, Florida.
Equally, participating together in ministry opportunities – whether in their church, neighborhood, community, or the world – has helped them to grow in their faith as a couple. Working side-by-side to fulfill the Great Commission – in whatever capacity – has deepened their spiritual intimacy like little else could. They find that being the Lord’s witnesses by serving, giving, encouraging, caring, and loving as Jesus loved is rewarding beyond words. According to the Robinson’s, in the end, it is not about them, is it? It is about them – the poor, the needy, those who need a touch from God. They are no strangers to having people tell them what a blessing it to see them in ministry together.
Furthermore, Ecclesiastes 9:11, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happened to them all” and Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” are two of their favorite bible verse because of their encouraging and inspiring messages of hope!
Likewise, the Robinson’s have found that because God has created man and woman to complete each other having the full counsel of the male and the female perspective when confronting ministry issues is invaluable. Likewise, the opportunity to have both a woman and a man present to deal with issues relevant to each gender has been a great benefit to their ministry. The Robinson’s passionately believe effective team ministry begins with a healthy marriage and family grounded in a whole and holy relationship to the Father through Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. As a dynamic team of two – the Lord has placed a heavy mandate in their hearts to reach out in the marketplace and in the kingdom like never.
Additionally, the Robinsons created and host the Nationally Syndicated "Lotus Flower Podcast" which steams on Spotify, RSS.com, Google Podcast, Reason.com, Amazon Music/Podcast, and Wix.com. Dr. Robinson is the founder and facilitator of the Lotus Flower Book Club which streams on Facebook and Instagram. Furthermore, the Emerging HOPE Ministry Virtual Worship Service Streams Live on Facebook and Instagram every Sunday.
Moreover, in their spare time the Robinson’s enjoy traveling, spending time outdoors, reading, and watching nostalgic television shows. The currently reside in Kalamazoo, MI and they have six adult children between them, many grandchildren, a one special grandson Zecarhay.
For more information about the Robinson’s, Emerging HOPE Ministry, Emerging HOPE Christian Counseling, and Lotus Flower Podcast or The Lotus Flower Book Club, you can contact them at (269)205-8770, via their website at https://www.emerginghopefsp.org/, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may reach out to them via their mailing address at Emerging HOPE Ministry, P.O. Box 19485 Kalamazoo, MI 49019.