Women Making a Difference: Leader of nonprofit organization helps struggling families

HOUSTON – Being a kid can be tough, especially when your family is struggling.

Ruth Githumbi, the executive director of Trees of Hope, has made it her mission to make things easier for children whose families have fallen on hard times.

"(These kids) didn't necessarily do anything to get themselves in the position that they're in -- being homeless. And so it's important for us to be able to instill a little bit of stability,” Githumbi said.

Trees of Hope is a charity that supports children’s programs for Houston-based nonprofit Star of Hope, Houston’s largest mission for the homeless population.

Star of Hope’s Women and Family Development Center houses up to 150 families each day and helps victims cope with domestic and substance abuse.

Githumbi, who came from humble beginnings, doesn't want children to feel that their futures will be shaped by their current hardships.

"Being able to be an example to the kids and say 'You don't need to necessarily have, you know, these great beginnings to be able to have a great life and impact other people.'"

Part of Trees of Hope’s mission to fundraise includes an annual gala that brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, an annual Mother’s Day event and a shoe drive at which toddlers, children and teenagers can pick up a new pair of socks and sneakers free of charge.

Trisha Bradley, the vice president of community development for Frost Bank, spends her time serving on Trees of Hope’s board of trustees, which is comprised entirely of women.

An all-female board is something Bradley says is advantageous to their cause.

"It definitely helps because women seem to have that maternal, nurturing instinct,” she said.

In 2016, Trees of Hope helped to provide programs for more than 1,635 children, according to their website.

Its outreach included providing nearly 90,000 diapers, nearly 2,000 toys and more than 83,000 articles of clothing for children at Star of Hope.

Githumbi hopes to continue the group’s mission to help children in any way it can.

"Being able to have an impact on a child is absolutely, hands down my favorite part,” she said.

To learn more about Trees of Hope, click here.

To donate, click here.

For more information about Star of Hope and the services they offer, click here.