Dear Friends,

This is an invitation to do something good for young people in need in our community.  Hope-U works daily with disconnected young adults to end homelessness, hunger and unemployment for this population who have been hit excessively hard during the COVID pandemic.

Please consider making a gift today.

We’d like you to meet Meriem Fardaoussi who came to Hope-U for help this past Spring.

Meriem Fardaoussi

Meriem was in her final year at Norfolk State University, about to get her degree in exercise science. She had a job, was paying her way through school and had a nice apartment.

Everything she had worked so hard for – all her dreams of taking the next step in life were about to come true. Or, so she thought.

“Reaching my goals was right at my fingertips,” the 26-year-old said. “But, everything changed.”

First Meriem found out her father was sick. She took time off work and school to be with him in her hometown of Buffalo, NY. For three months, she tried to balance her bills, school and spending time with her dad.

However, after months in the hospital, Meriem’s father died.

“I lost everything,” she said. “My dad was gone. I was going to lose my degree, my job and my apartment.”

To make matters worse, COVID-19 hit, and Meriem was under even more constraints to try and find work, as well as get her schooling done.

“I thought I was done,” she said. “There was no way out.”

Enter Nick Gabriel, Executive Director of Hope-U Foundation.

“Apparently, I have a guardian angel and his name is Nick,” Meriem said. “It’s funny because I actually thought I was being scammed at first. It was too good to be true.”

The “scam” of Meriem’s lifetime started with a phone call and ended with Gabriel not only paying all of Meriem’s bills, rent and other necessities, but he also helped her make a plan to work through completing her classes so she could graduate on time.

“The same day I had to make a decision on letting my dad go was the day Nick called me and said he was going to help me,” Meriem said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Gabriel asked Meriem for a list of her outstanding bills. He paid them. He asked her about her classes and the outstanding school-work. He helped her get it done.

“He was my emotional support too,” Meriem said. “I wouldn’t have graduated without him. I wouldn’t have my home or the job I have now if it wasn’t for him.”

Today, Meriem works with an asthma therapy group and is now attending Old Dominion University’s master’s program for exercise science.

“My life would have taken a much different path if it wasn’t for Nick,” she said. “He truly saved me.”

“I knew it was the right thing to do; but didn’t know the impact Hope-U was truly having,” said Gabriel. “There’s so much more that can be done for these struggling young adults – if we only had the financial resources.”

As we wrap up 2020, we are asking for your financial help

We invite you to make an investment in the young people of Hampton Roads.  Your partnership will help ensure that they stay in school, have adequate and safe housing, and know they will not go hungry.

Here are ways you can contribute:


  1. Online.
  2. Call us at (757)227-5444
  3. Send a check – – no cash, please – – payable to HOPE-U Foundation at 1400 18th Street, Chesapeake, VA 23324.

Thank you, again for helping young people like Meriem.

“I knew it was the right thing to do; but didn’t know the impact Hope-U was truly having. There’s so much more that can be done for these struggling young adults – – if we only had the financial resources.” Nick Gabriel, Executive Director


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