Today, HOPE Crew announced Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia, as the site of their 100th project. In partnership with the National Park Service and the Fort Monroe Authority, HOPE Crew will deploy a team of national experts and young, local participants from The Corps Network’s member corps to rehabilitate Fort Monroe National Monument’s historic quarters this summer.
“The success of HOPE Crew highlights a hands-on approach to saving places that—beyond addressing deferred maintenance at historic sites—is making a positive difference in the lives of future preservationists and the communities where they serve,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We’re excited to continue broadening the preservation movement with our partners and to kick-off HOPE Crew’s 100th project at Fort Monroe National Monument, a National Treasure and site of one of our country’s most extraordinary chapters in the fight for freedom.”
At Fort Monroe National Monument, known to many as “Freedom’s Fortress” for being the place where more than 500,000 African Americans took the first step in ending their enslavement during the American Civil War, HOPE Crew participants working on former living quarters built in 1834 will have an opportunity to discover the site’s history while acquiring advanced preservation skills that make them competitive in the job market, including: foundation stabilization; wall assessments; re-pointing; masonry; painting and refinishing; and carpentry.
“We cannot understand the Civil War—the most significant event in American history—without knowing what happened at Fort Monroe,” said Terry E. Brown, National Park Service superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument. “In helping us preserve historic Building 50 this summer, HOPE Crew participants are also helping us commemorate the courage of Civil War-era freedom seekers and allowing future generations to understand the full American story.”
Since the start of the program in 2014, HOPE Crew (named for “Hands-On Preservation Experience”) has completed 99 projects around the country, trained more than 600 young people and veterans in preservation trades and recruited over 2,000 volunteers to protect places that are significant to their communities. In just three years, aligning the National Park Service with The Corps Network membership of over 130 Corps across the country, the program has contributed 80,000 hours and $14.3 million worth of preservation work at an array of historic sites, including: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s boyhood home in Georgia; Painted Desert Community Complex in Arizona, the last remaining structure in the National Park Service designed by modernist Richard Neutra; and the White Grass Dude Ranch in Montana where cabins were restored for use as a future training facility for the Western Center for Historic Preservation.
“We are proud to have played a role in the development and growth of the HOPE Crew program and are excited to celebrate the 100th project at a site bearing as much historical significance as Fort Monroe,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network. “The mission of Corps is to provide young adults the opportunity to learn job and life skills through service to our country. HOPE Crew allows Corpsmembers to also learn about our country’s history and engage in keeping America’s past alive.”
At a public event on Monday, June 19, 2017, 1PM ET, at Fort Monroe National Monument, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Fort Monroe Authority, and The Corps Network will launch the program’s 100th project and honor the Juneteenth holiday that celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States. The public and members of the media can join a roster of special guests, government officials, local leaders and HOPE Crew participants to learn about what makes Fort Monroe National Monument an essential landmark of African American history, as well as the wide-ranging importance of engaging young people across the country through preservation work on public lands.