Get to know Maureen Kornowa, executive director here at Home of Hope, since 2014.
How did you first hear about Home of Hope?
In 2014, this facility was Gwinnett Children’s Shelter. I was approached by the then-Board Chairman Brand Morgan to come out to tour the campus. I started working as Executive Director that year.
What do you love about working here?
I love the privilege of helping young people change their lives. I love the team I work with and the children we serve. Home of Hope at GCS is a GREAT place to work. We are a team. We have fun together AND we get to change the lives of those in need.
What does your day usually look like?
I usually clear out my first emails before dawn. Depending on the time of year, I am working on events, grants, meeting with donors, attending events, networking, speaking at luncheons, dinners and finding new and creative ways to raise awareness and funds for Home of Hope at GCS.
What do you want others to know about Home of Hope?
I’d like others to know that we have a solution to ending the cycle of homelessness. And I’d like those who need help to know NOT to be afraid to ask for help It’s why we are here.
What difference have you seen Home of Hope make in women’s lives?
I have seen women feeling broken by the situation they are in and then I’ve seen them come to the realization that they are safe and have a team around them who aren’t going to let them fail. I have seen hope live again in someone who thought all was lost. I have seen good moms become great moms. I’ve seen children blossom from being on our campus — they feel safe, loved and happy.
What’s your dream for Home of Hope?
My dream for Home of Hope is that we continue to implement lasting change. To expand our facility to include affordable housing units as an extension of our program. I’d like Home of Hope’s legacy to be that we touched and changed lives forever.
Do you have a favorite Home of Hope moment you can share?
A year ago Christmas, a few of our 4th and 5th grade girls came off the bus a few weeks before the holiday chatting about what they learned in school that day. They were telling our Director of Operations Renita Pollard that there were people who were homeless and needed stuff like socks and toiletries for Christmas, and they were collecting stuff to take to school. They had NO knowledge they were living in a shelter and Renita set them up with supplies to contribute the next day! We are so proud that those girls had no idea that Home of Hope was a shelter. This was their home and they were safe, loved and happy.
What can you tell us about your life outside of work?
When not working, I love to cook and play tennis. I do like fine dining and red wines. I have two daughters, one married who lives in Charleston and the other about to get married in May. I have a huge family in Connecticut, and we all stay close. Family first!
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I went to Harley Davidson School and got my motorcycle license. Bought a HD Heritage Softail, chromed out. Rode it for a year and sold it. Scared me to death but at least I tried! You regret the things most in life you don’t try — not the things you do.