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Our Story

Hope Harvest Inc

Hope Harvest non-profit was birthed from a dream and passion to help and serve the impoverished mothers and children in Africa through education, training and sustainable life skills. It all began from a lifechanging trip to Kenya in 2018 where I met the amazing teacher of a girl’s teen center. Many of these young women were homeless pregnant or had children out of wedlock. They would gather beneath an avocado tree for shelter and simple lessons at the direction and leadership of a community mother everyone had come to know and love. The compassion of the now Director Mrs. Hellen Mwashi drove her to make a way for these young ladies to keep their children and to learn new sewing skills. She eventually embraced more children many being orphans and did her very best to share her own resources with them.  My first time visiting the Motherland was merely to explore and learn about the culture. Little did know that I would become not just like family but it would also develop into a lifelong partnership and desire to see a village and community change their lives.

After such a tremendous visit I returned home with a plan to help build a school for the children and orphans in the village and to find a way to bring visibility and global market interests in the artisan items made by these young women. Hellen and I connected immediately on a heart level and the journey has been extremely challenging but also very rewarding.


We were blessed by the Build A School Foundation who helped us match funds to build the Gerhellen School and Early Childhood Development Center in Kitale, Kenya. Now we must continue this journey by continued training of the girls, education for the children and sustainable income projects for supplies, school maintenance and other related needs. I believe in many sayings that include but are not limited to “education levels the playing field” (paraphrased Joyce Meyer et al) and “give a man a fish he eats for a day…teach a man to fish he eats for life” (Lao Tzu). Hope Harvest wants to be that life changing agent for all they serve. If you have a heart to make a difference please consider donating to this worthwhile organization.

Products from Izla Hearn Center (Sewing School)

Meet The Founder

Hope Harvest Inc Founder

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Founder: Dr. Gerilyn Johnson

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Dr. Gerilyn Johnson is a retired educator, trainer, human resources expert and public speaker. Personable, witty, friendly and not one to take herself too seriously, she has an extensive and diverse background that has taken her from teaching elementary school subjects in small classrooms in the poorest of communities to the halls of the FBI Academy as the Administrative Services Unit Chief for Personnel and Human Resources matters. Upon her retirement, Dr. G, as she is fondly called now by many friends and colleagues, made a decision to focus her remaining years on volunteer initiatives and activities relative to local and global community service.

After taking her first trip to Kenya, Africa in 2018 on a personal journey she fell in love with the traditions and spirit of a community in Kitale. After spending a month living as a local and working alongside the various tribes, she witnessed many of their daily hardships and decided to find a way to help. She learned about Build a School Foundation and applied to help build a school for the unschooled children in the area.

Dr. G is now devoted to this community and committed to help them find ways to sustain the school and village through spearheading programs for continuous education, training, food deficit programs, and global market access for artisan items produced by the women. Dr. Johnson wants to help people change their lives for the better.  

Dr. G sums up her professional working career and now her new journey of service with the following phrase “What an awesome ride this has been.” She goes on to say how amazing it is to be a little girl from public housing in Newark, New Jersey and end up doing her small part in public service to make a difference in the world. She is honored, she is humbled, but most of all she feels blessed.   

Dr. G is calling this next season of her life Act 2…. new beginnings. There are no plans to sit this time out as she now has more time to give back to her community and offer her time and expertise where needed. She currently serves as a Board member for several nonprofits, is a registered volunteer for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CPMD), led the initiative for Project #79 with the Build A School Foundation (BASF) and has launched her own newly registered nonprofit Hope Harvest Inc. 2022.

Dr. Johnson is a graduate of the College of William and Mary (BA Early Childhood), Boston University (Ed.M.) and Capella University (PhD). She introduces and describes herself first and foremost as a servant leader.

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