Hope Afield holds open house
Published 3:28 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Hope Afield is a center for at-risk children located just north of Greenville in an ideal country setting on Old Stage Road.
It was built by love, for love.
Ken and Jan Kilpatrick have worked in ministries all their lives.
When they lived in Montgomery, they had a program similar to the one they began here.
In Montgomery, they ran their program in the housing projects; teaching the same lessons they brought with them to Greenville.
“We had a program we started back in 1994. We worked with at-risk kids. We closed it down in 2016 to move back to Greenville,” Ken Kilpatrick said.
Their farm here covers several acres.
“We decided if we were going to turn the farm into a place that could help young people and their families, we needed to get down there,” Kilpatrick said.
So they moved back to their hometown and started planning.
“We started raising money for this right before the pandemic,” Kilpatrick said.
But the pandemic slowed everyone down.
Once the worst of it was over, they were able to turn their vision into reality with the building project that came to be known as Hope Afield.
Children are referred to Hope Afield in hopes of helping them get established on the right track.
“We get children from the educational system, from the judicial system, law enforcement and even churches,” Kilpatrick said.
He added that most of the children come from single parent homes, and have no father influence in their lives.
“Some of them have gotten into a little trouble and some of them haven’t,” Kilpatrick said.
But that doesn’t matter at Hope Afield.
“This is a place to learn how to work through your problems,” Kilpatrick said.
The children that come there get a chance to work with horses, goats, chickens, and dogs.
They have an opportunity to care for and ride horses. They tend to the goats, chickens and dogs. Taking care of the animals is a large part of the program.
The children also can explore the hiking trails, go camping and fishing.
There is even time for craft projects and gardening.
Three principles are taught to the children who come to Hope Afield: how to work; how to play; and how to live.
The Kilpatricks work hard to teach these children life skills, and some of the things that they may be missing in their lives.
“We help them build character,” Kilpatrick said.
Every Tuesday afternoon, the children gather at Hope Afield and Kilpatrick gives them a service project to work on.
“Their projects could be cutting the grass or picking up sticks,” Kilpatrick said.
That’s the work part.
After that, the kids can play a variety of games that most kids play who have been raised on a farm.
That’s the play part.
“We try to teach them some life skills and character building skills. We do this with team building and team games,” Jan Kilpatrick said. “We’re excited to see the growth of the children who come out here.”
It never ceases to amaze them how a child will eventually open up to them.
Kilpatrick said fishing builds trust.
“You have to build trust with these children for them to open up to you and tell you what’s going on in their lives,” Kilpatrick added.
Hope Afield runs on trust and love.
“This whole facility was built by donations,” Kilpatrick said.
Corporate sponsors, individuals and even churches have worked together to help the Kilpatricks realize their dream of making a safe, secure place for children to learn, grow, and become everything they were meant to be.
For more information on Hope Afield visit www.hopeafield.com.