Located just south of Dayton, West Carrollton is a small river town that borders the Great Miami River to the north. Our city is proud of its blue-collar roots in the paper mill industry and its rich transportation history at one time, having five forms of transport: train, canal, riverboats, trolleys, and cars.
The city has fallen on hard times over the years, with most of the industry leaving town. But the people of West Carrollton are a proud group of overcomers. David Fisher had dreamed of making a difference, and with the help of the Miami Valley Leadership Foundation, this dream became a reality.
"Hope 4 West Carrollton” started as a dream to open up the walls (doors) of a church to welcome in the community and make a difference in the lives of those in need. The answer to those dreams and prayers was Miami Valley Leadership Foundation and the blessings of the Hope 4 model."
We are proud to say that with over 30 Hope 4 West Carrollton partner’s the vision God gave David has grown and continues to grow every day. We are active in serving our community through sharing our faith through building projects, food distribution, meeting material needs such as clothing and furniture, to name a few. Our partners are committed to and proud of this fantastic community they call home.
Several local churches, city employees, and our school district have come alongside us on this vision to make West Carrollton the best it can be.
In 2008, Zion Lutheran Church’s congregation began to dream about what West Carrollton would look like if their church were to go beyond the walls of the church building, partner with other community leaders, and make a difference in the lives of those in need. However, at that time, the dream was bigger than their capacity to fulfill it.
Fast forward to 2019 when David Fisher, a local Dayton business owner and Zion Lutheran Church member, was invited to participate in a Hope 4 Community information meeting. According to David, witnessing those first Hope 4 Community meetings was like “eating and drinking goodness and God’s love.” He knew he needed to take this concept back to Zion’s visioning team. This was exactly what they had been dreaming about for West Carrollton. The vision from 2008 now had a heart, a pulse, and a calling.
In June of 2020, right in the middle of the global pandemic, a small group of leaders met to discuss the start of Hope 4 West Carrollton (H4WC). A movement that relies upon relationships and community found a way to navigate through shutdowns and social distancing in creative and innovative ways. God’s work would not be stopped!
Since the first meeting in June of 2020, eight churches (and growing) along with community leaders, residents, and local school district personnel have partnered together seeing the incredible impact of collaborative partnerships, leveraging the unique assets of organizations and giftedness of individuals ~ doing so much more than they could alone.
Over the past year, David and the Hope 4 West Carrollton leadership team prayed for a local leader, with a heart for West Carrollton, to become the first official director. They prayed for someone that would embrace the vision of bringing the entire community together to serve one another with love and kindness. In March 2021, Rich Harmon, Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship at West Carrollton Nazarene, was appointed the Hope 4 West Carrollton Community Director.
“I started meeting with David regularly and a friendship quickly developed. God was beginning to do what God does…equip people to serve Him in ways to fulfill His will. After much prayer, meeting with Jay Schindler (MVLF President), having a few conversations with Sarah Pelphrey (MVLF Community Specialist and the Hope 4 Miamisburg Director), attending some zoom meetings, and seeing the passion that the people already involved with MVLF had, I could not resist. I am honored to serve as Director of Hope 4 West Carrollton to serve those on the team and our community’s amazing people.” – Rich Harmon
We are so thankful for the MVLF leadership, the tools they provided, and most importantly the guidance and relationships they modeled and helped us build. They gave us credibility and confidence to forge ahead and be faithful to God’s plans.” – David Fisher
How it Started
My time and experience with the Miami Valley Leadership Foundation has been a wonderful spiritual journey filled with relationships that opened so many doors in my life.
Over the past year we have been blessed to watch God’s plans take hold in West Carrollton. Hope 4 West Carrollton started out of a dream to open up the walls and doors of a church to welcome in the community and make a difference in the lives of those in need. The answer to those dreams and prayers was MVLF and the blessings of the Hope 4 Community model.
In 2008 Zion Lutheran Church’s congregation had a vision but at that time the vision was bigger than we were at the time. But that vision never died and began to take off when we were invited to come see and be a part of a local Hope 4 group in a neighboring community in 2019.
Witnessing the Hope 4 Community meeting was like eating and drinking goodness and God’s love. It was spirit filled individuals sharing the needs of a community and witnessing how you can all just say yes to helping by using your gifts. There was no one group or person that had to do all the heavy lifting. Each person could use the strengths of their congregation or their own personal gifts to work together to show a huge heart and love for the community and its people.
I loved what I witnessed and took this concept back to Zion’s visioning team in January of 2020. We had so long dreamed about this and God provided the help we needed through Miami Valley Leadership Foundation (MVLF) and some of its team: Jay Schindler (President), Todd Baker (Director of Finance & Administration), and Sarah Pelphrey (Community Specialist), and the Hope 4 Community model provided by the MVLF. The vision from 2008 now had a heart, a pulse, a calling. We were spiritually excited and driven to make this a reality.
From this meeting we quickly progressed and met as a small group of leaders in June of 2020. This was during the heart of a Pandemic- Wow what timing to try to kick off an organization that relied upon relationship and community. The great news is that the Good Lord would not be stopped and would provide!
From our first meetings we were blessed to have other churches and community leaders jump in with both feet because they saw how the Hope 4 Community model allowed all people of faith and good with the opportunity to work together, use the gifts we enjoyed, and together provide so much more than we could alone.
We are so thankful for the MVLF leadership, the tools they provided and most importantly the guidance and relationships they modeled and helped us build. They gave us credibility and confidence to forge ahead and be faithful to God’s plans.
The great news is Hope 4 West Carrollton grew quickly, and now has over 30 partners – all connecting, meeting monthly to discuss issues around the community, and working in collaboration with one another to meet the needs of the City. So many have jumped in to provide help – many churches, local government staff, school district staff, nonprofits, and residents within the community.
Through these relationships we are now collectively working on projects, helping those in the community that lack resources, and targeting the Fall for the start of mentoring programs in the West Carrollton School District.
Over the past year, we as a Hope 4 West Carrollton team prayed for a local leader with a heart for the West Carrollton community. Someone that would embrace the dream of bringing the entire community together to serve one another with love and kindness. The awesome news is that the Good Lord provided us this leader and in March 2021 and MVLF hired Rich Harmon, Pastor of Outreach and Mentoring at West Carrollton Nazarene Church, to be our first Executive Director.
West Carrollton Nazarene Church was a seed church for Hope 4 West Carrollton and was part of the meetings from the early days of formation. We are so excited for Rich and look forward to his leadership.
– David Fisher