Helping Gwinnett children and their moms find a home and hope

Why Sandra and Clyde Strickland chose to become Home of Hope supporters 20 years ago

For Sandra Strickland and her husband Clyde, it all started with a chicken barbeque.

In 2001, the first-ever golf tournament to benefit the then-named Gwinnett Children’s Shelter was in the works. The Stricklands heard about it and knew they wanted to be involved.

“Our company, Metro Waterproofing, Inc., was a hole sponsor and a great supporter of that first Gwinnett Children’s Shelter Golf Classic,” Sandra said.

Their church at the time, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, headed up the tourney. Sandra’s husband Clyde pitched in, along with other church volunteers, cooking a chicken barbeque meal. At that point, Nancy Friauf was the executive director, along with board chair Jim Hinshaw, and Susie Ryan, the development director – all people Sandra knew.

For the Stricklands, this golf tournament launched more than two decades of giving to Home of Hope.

“We have been [Home of Hope] supporters — along with Metro and my family — ever since,” she said.

And today, they’re not just supporters. They’re also cheerleaders for Home of Hope and the families it serves.  

“When [families] arrive at the shelter they are broken-hearted and always looking back at their life — no hope and no joy,” she said. “When they leave to start a new life, they now look forward with dignity, respect and confidence.”

Sandra is quick to credit Executive Director Maureen Kornowa for her leadership and love at the home.

“She certainly has done a tremendous job. To me, she’s the epitome of a good director because she loves these children. Every time I’m around her, she’s always holding a baby.  She’s so attentive to them. The same goes for the mothers, too. She always takes the time, when Clyde and I are there, to introduce the mothers to us,” explained Sandra. “Maureen has the biggest heart.

The same could be said for the Stricklands. 

Over the years, their heart for giving back has had a major impact. 

A grant from the Clyde and Sandra Strickland Foundation — plus support from other key families — allowed Home of Hope to open their main building and begin operating again in 2017 as Home of Hope at Gwinnett Children’s Shelter.

“Clyde and Sandra Strickland have been with us since the changeover to Home of Hope and have been instrumental in moving us forward,” explained Maureen Kornowa. “They gave in a big way — as did Brand and Jennifer Morgan along with Marvin and Valerie Hewatt. This allowed us to operate at full capacity in 2017. 

‘Their giving spirit and hearts are to be celebrated and emulated. They inspire me and humble me with their kindness and genuine caring for our entire community and nonprofit efforts. I could only hope to leave a fraction of the legacy they have in our beautiful Gwinnett County.”

So what’s kept the Stricklands giving over the years?

“We give because there’s a need,” explained Sandra. “The desire of our hearts is to help mankind with acts of service and charity to families in need of our help. We want to show them that they are loved. They need each of us, but we need them more because they give us purpose. They help us express gratitude for what we have rather than complain about what we’re missing. God always gets the glory.”

Sandra said their dream is that Home of Hope will always be a place of refuge and strength for Gwinnett families in need. 

“Our dream for Home of Hope families is [for them] to live in a place that they can call home, to have a good job, educate their kids and to know that God is always with them,” she said. “That [Home of Hope] will continue to strengthen families in crisis so that they can believe in themselves. To know they, like each of us, are born with a purpose and to learn they are worthy and will pass their gifts on to others.”