The first time she walked into a homeless shelter for mothers in Florida, Sondra Watson wasn’t sure what kind of feelings to expect. It was her first day at her new job as a fresh college graduate. It was her responsibility to help these strangers in one of their strongest times of need. She never would have predicted that by the end of the day, she would have already fallen in love with the families she was helping. Nor did she predict how it would inspire her to create her own program for changing lives in her home state of Massachusetts.

The job was challenging, but Sondra learned a lot. “Every day was difficult. Their stories were tough,” says Sondra, “But through these challenges I learned how loving people unconditionally and modeling God’s love, provided these women and children with such healing.”  She was particularly encouraged by the women’s determination to grow. “Their drive and perseverance was incredible and inspiring,” she says, “It was such an amazing opportunity to be a part of their stories and see them thrive.”

As she continued working at that shelter, Sondra says she began to feel a strong calling to open her own program one day, one that wouldn’t just help mothers and their children living in poverty—but one that would end homelessness and poverty for them altogether, through skill training. “[I felt  this calling], not knowing when and where,” says Sondra.

Then, when Sondra and her husband moved back to her home state of Massachusetts. She realized the type of program she had been dreaming of, was exactly what was missing from the south shore area. So she got her hands on a piece of property for her program—an old two-story home—and began pulling together a team to help with operations and renovations. They have named the program “Ollie’s House,” after a woman they knew who was always noted by her love and compassion. “In drawing up the design for Ollie’s House,” she says, “It was clear, there was no design out there like it. We have taken all of the pieces that have been effective and lumped them into one program. Ollie’s House is designed to STOP the cycle of homelessness and poverty!”

Today, you can find Sondra working tirelessly toward getting Ollie’s House off the ground, with the plan of housing at least six mothers and their children, to start. “We are so excited to make a lasting impact in the lives of so many” says Sondra, “And watching the ripple effect of change emanate throughout our community.”

Ollie’s House is one of the projects included in our Hope Project 2017. To learn more, check out