Leaders and Chefs in Training

The students at Marian Hope Academy are on a mission to share truth about what we are eating and encourage other teens to learn the importance of:

  • God-made foods
  • How to cook with them
  • And all the benefits of eating whole foods.  

Their desire comes from a place of compassion and concern. “We care about the health of our friends and see too many of them that are sick, tired all the time or suffering with chronic illnesses at way too young of an age,” one student expressed after realizing how many of her friends were taking medication.  

It only makes sense that what we put in our body is going to affect how we feel and function. Our organs need necessary nutrients to function optimally. Sadly, our food culture has evolved down a concerning path – one of more processed foods and less foods from the earth.  Our food, along with all of the other toxins in our environment, is making us sick.

So we decided to start our own cooking show called Chefs In Training. What’s even more exciting is we are partnering with Robin Cook, nutrition coach and author of Cook 2 Flourish. It is our hope to bring in some humor and fun while educating other teens on the value of nutrition-rich foods while sharing some yummy recipes.

It is hard when you are a young teen desiring to treat your body well and eat healthy—but it is more doable with friends who aspire to live the same way. “I used to be embarrassed about my healthy lunches,” a student shared, “but now I’m thankful for them and thankful for having friends who want to encourage others to make healthy choices too!”

We believe God designed each one of us with a special plan and purpose and it is much easier to do all God calls us to do when we are living in optimal health, physically, mentally and spiritually. So we believe that eating healthy glorifies God. And we should glorify God in all things—and that includes what we put into our bodies.

Check out our Chefs in Training Episode One video here .  Please share with others and subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss a video!

Oh the Places You’ll Go at Marian Hope…

Merry Christmas Appreciation Poem written with love by MH CEO…

Inspired by Dr. Seuss

Oh the places you’ll go and the things that you’ll do,
at Marian Hope where life is made new.

Let’s start with our development team if you will,
As they try to raise money so we can pay each bill.
God gives us our daily bread so we can sustain,
And he assigned Kira and Crystal so Marian Hope can remain.
They work and they work with little guided direction,
But needless to say, they do their jobs with perfection.
They love the cause and hold it dear to their hearts,
And we all pray that they will never want to depart.

Moving on to the ones who keep us afloat,
By watching our budget and taking diligent notes.
They write our policies and keep us legally intact,
Rarely do they stop for even a snack.
Without their brilliant minds and attention to detail,
Our organization would certainly derail.
We would not survive without their keen eye,
Sue, Cara and Cinda truly keep us alive.

Our board of directors always has our back,
They guide and assess to make sure we’re on track.
They dedicate their time without any condition,
Because of their love for the children and our mission.

And to all of our donors who fund our mission,
We wouldn’t exist without your position.
Your generosity and love to the children we see,
Gives them the resources so their best they will be.
It is community working together that allows us to grow,
Lives more blessed is what you sow.

The Mayor (as I call her) will brighten your day,
And you all know her as our sweet JJ.
She keeps us all “in the know”,
And for anyone—oh the places she’ll go.
Special is what she makes everyone feel, and she will be the first to bring you a meal.

Now the places you’ll go if you are our COO,
Are beyond all measure because she’ll never say no.
From toilet bowl plunging to taking out trash,
Whatever you need, Heather will be there in a dash.
On yellow sticky notes all around,
A great deal of her to-do’s will be found.
From counselor, to therapist, to para, to friend—each will be her role,
For our COO has the kindest, gentlest, most humble soul.

Now being a therapist will change your life,
But let’s admit it, some days may bring strife.
The things that you’ll say and the actions you’ll do,
To get a child to speak when he is just two.
“What do I do” will flounder around in your mind,
Until a great solution you will suddenly find.
It may be acting like a clown or growling like a bear,
But no matter who is watching, you do not really care.
You’ll do whatever it takes to help a child out,
Because you believe she CAN and you never doubt.
You work hard to serve some pretty tough kids,
But when the day is done you should be proud of what you did.
You may have been puked on, spit on and possibly hit,
And there is a good chance you will even get bit.
But you know the scars of hard work are worth the smiles you get,
And when a child finds his voice, it is the best feeling yet.

When we started a school, great teachers were a must,
For the education of children should be in hands we can trust.
To teach a child is more than teaching to tests,
It’s helping them in all areas to be their personal best.
It is understanding how each child learns,
And strengthening their strengths, not just their concerns.
It’s teaching them truth in who God made them to be,
And helping them appreciate their own special identity.

The pay is not great, let’s face it, it stinks,
But our life is a vapor and goes by in a blink.
What we do for a child is more valuable than gold,
The payment comes from above and in things we can’t hold.
The joy in the eyes of the families we serve,
Are worth the sacrifices and the hope they deserve.

For every child on earth is worth our attention,
For in God’s book of life, their names are all mentioned.
Thank you all for being a shining light for the world to see,
I hope you all know how truly I love and appreciate thee.
Merry Christmas my sweet friends at Marian Hope!


With Love – Angie Knight,
Your friend and your sister in Christ!

I found a treasure!

When I think of Marian Hope Academy, I think of a treasure box.  For the past five months I have had the privilege of being on staff as a Paraprofessional and a sub for different classes.  I knew Marian Hope was a treasure from the first time I heard about it and have been discovering its true, hidden treasure found inside every day since I started here at this unique school.

One thing I have discovered is the class conversations that create an atmosphere of learning and critical thinking by engaging.  I was sitting in as a sub for an upper grade class and was amazed at the way these students were learning. They had a worksheet with a list of words but instead of just staring at them and reading them they were discussing them together.  They made jokes, shared observations, and made up stories all around learning this list of words! Who knew school could be so interactive! The conversation was completely student led. What was happening in that hour class was way more than just memorizing a list of words.  These individuals were critically thinking, they were teaching one another, and they were learning relational and communication skills. I truly thought, if only I could do school again. Of all the homeschool, public school, college education I have had I would have chosen to learn the way these students were learning and would have learned far more.

I am also amazed at the different teaching methods.  At first I was a bit unsure of these methods because of how different it was from other schools.  The last few months have shown that these methods work! There are fewer worksheets and way more interaction using things like building blocks and objects that the student can observe and experiment with.  This makes creativity thrive and encourages the student to learn and come up with conclusions.

From Kindergarten to High School the students and staff amaze me.  I think this is a school where the teachers let the students teach them how to teach.  In other words, if a student is not getting a certain concept or struggling in a certain subject the teacher changes the teaching method or approach.  The kids are seen as unique with each one having different learning styles.

Here at Marian Hope, the students are learning so much more than just academics.  They are learning to problem solve, to communicate their thoughts, to know how they learn, to accept their fellow peers, and to critically think amongst other things.  

I so enjoy Marian Hope.  I am discovering more about how to learn and teach from these students and staff.  This is just a peek into some of the inside treasures that I have found here at Marian Hope and am confident that I will continue to find more.

~Anna Kirtly, Paraprofessional at Marian Hope Academy

“Inclusion” versus “Successful Inclusion”

For years I have been trying to figure out “successful inclusion” for children with special needs. Inclusion

is when a child is included into the same activities as other children despite their challenges.  This

does not necessarily equal successful inclusion. Successful inclusion varies depending on the child’s

needs. In my eyes, successful inclusion is when a student is learning to their God-Given potential;

thriving socially, emotionally, spiritually, and academically in a setting with “neuro-typical” peers.

Oftentimes, it is the typically-developing peers who can “make or break” successful integration.


Christ- Centered character development is the key to our success at Marian Hope Academy. At the

beginning of last year (our first year), many students separated themselves from fellow students who

seemed quite “different” from them. This year, these same students no longer see the “differences” with

fear but rather embrace the “differences” with love. Through focused prayer and helping students realize

that God created each person for a special purpose, we have seen transformation in the character of

many of our students.  It is priceless! Thought provoking questions such as, “How would God view

him/her?” has really helped shape the character of our students. For the first time in my life, I finally get

to experience the daily blessing of “true & successful integration” and it is beautiful.


– Angie Knight
Founder of Marian Hope

Inclusion is Challenging, but…

Just because inclusion is challenging

Just because inclusion is challenging, does not mean we deny children the opportunity to be included. Marian Hope Academy is a school that is rooted in Christian principles, has high standards and expectation for all children and includes children of all learning abilities. The reason many schools do not accept those with various learning needs, is because they lack the education, training and supports to make inclusion successful; and let’s be honest, it is hard.

Because 1 in 6 children are diagnosed with some developmental learning disability, I believe it is paramount that all schools find a system of  “successful” inclusion, even if on a small, limited scale. We have connected with a few Catholic and Christian Schools who have also embraced Marian Hope’s vision for inclusion and are doing a fantastic job at including children with special needs into their schools! So I say again, just because inclusion can be challenging, does not mean we deny children the opportunity to be included.

– Angie Knight
Founder, Marian Hope

Gifts of the Heart

Every child is often asked “what do you do?”…what sports do you play?, what instruments do you play?, what is your “thing”? I know of several PRECIOUS children that don’t really have a “thing”. BUT, they are tender, meek, gentle, kind, humble and truly understand “love”. It is so important that we point out a child’s spiritual gifts and allow them opportunities to use those gifts of character to glorify God….as it is these gifts above all others that will truly change the world.

Meet Pierson…

Pierson and ClaireWhen MHA students were introduced to our change drive for our New Day charity event, one of our sweet students quickly emptied his pockets to give to the children at New Day. He gave humbly and without second thought; true, genuine giving. Pierson is filled with spiritual gifts. He has a heart full of love and compassion for others…and he is acting on it (love as a verb). He is a bright young child who intuitively feels for those with special needs. We have a little boy at MHA with Autism and limited language to express his feelings. One stormy afternoon, Pierson sat close to this little boy at lunch as he knew the storm made him feel anxious. He now has created his own website and is making lap blankets for children with sensory and proprioceptive needs. He has already donated several to Marian Hope Center. You can visit his website or follow him on Twitter @PierScience.

Pierson is a blessing to MHA and how he chooses to use his God-given gifts inspires others. He has a beautiful soul!

Love & Charity

Marian Hope Academy’s scripture focus this year has been Mark 12:30-31: Love the Lord your God with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

Of all the commands God gives us in His word, the greatest is LOVE. The Bible does not say Love the Lord with a “little” or “some” or even the “majority” of your heart…we are commanded to LOVE Him with ALL of our heart, soul, mind and strength. And then we are to LOVE others (not judge nor gossip about others; we are to LOVE). That may be easy to say, but are we doing it and are we teaching our children to do it?

In Bible Study at MHA, the students have learned to think about and analyze “love” as a verb. We have gone to scripture to help us put “love” into action. The students have spent the past two months solidifying “charity” in their hearts…as Charity is definitely an act of LOVE. As a school, we chose to bless New Day Foster Home which is an amazing organization in China that takes care of children with significant special needs; some of which are life-threatening. Each classroom planned and executed their fundraising ideas. The students researched, created timelines, developed a cost/profit margin, delegated out responsibilities, worked together as a team, created beautiful posters, wrote quotes and scriptures about charity and so much more. The students in one class decided on the slogan, KIDS FOR CHANGE; BUILDING HOPE, as the name for the event. The event was a huge success and the students bought in close to $1,000 for New Day.

change drive

To kick off the event that week, the students had a change drive which totaled close to $700 just in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters…and it was an amazing math lesson filled with predicting, estimating, calculating, graphing and much more. Hands-on, functional learning…and all for a good cause and to Glorify God!

Over the past few months, we have tied in the scripture verse from Philippians 2:4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Wow, hard stuff to conquer especially in our era of competition and pride.

Through this event I truly saw LOVE and CHARITY move from the mind to the heart. Humble giving!

-Angie Knight, Founder of Marian Hope

What is Marian Hope Academy?

download (10)

Last year, Marian Hope added a small Christian School to our programs in order to truly fulfill our mission of inclusion. The Marian Hope Academy Christian School for Creative Learning (MHA) is unique and is different from the traditional model of education. The schodownload (34)ol is for children of all abilities and skills. MHA desires to immerse students in their strengths and build their confidence in the person God created them to be.

We want students to be intrinsically motivated to learn as this produces a LOVE for learning and sparks curiosity beyond imagination.

Curiosity leads to deep thinking.

We use multi-sensory teaching strategies to foster each student’s learning style.

Our standards and expectations are high and we do not set limits on a child’s potential.

Our focus is on the whole child….social, emotional, spiritual, health and academic development in a Christ-Centered environment.

download (3) Angie Knight, MA, CCC-SLP
Founder of Marian Hope

You can follow the events and progress at MHA by liking the Facebook page and continuing to read our blog.

Help Us Fill Josiah’s Closet!

Dear Friends and Family~

This has been a remarkable, life changing year for me as I have watched the Lord reveal His miraculous love and grace through the opening of Marian Hope Academy. “We are not of this World” goes through my head frequently as I pursue God’s calling for my life. To be able to help young children (despite learning differences) truly recognize the amazing, wonderful, unique creation they are and watch lives transform through an education rich in Christian roots, is an absolute joy. It is my hope and constant prayer that every child we serve will be flooded with the Holy Spirit and go into this world equipped with God’s armor. I have never been so busy, yet never felt more at peace.

Our staff felt called to provide our Marian Hope Academy students (and their friends and family) opportunities to give to those in need throughout our school year. If you want to see your child glow with the fruit of the Spirit…gentleness, kindness, joy, peace, love, goodness…seek opportunities for them to give and do for others. Our students have collected toys, food, and money for a couple local and international mission projects over the Christmas season. Our spring mission project is to collect 0-12 month spring/summer new clothes for Josiah’s closet through the Women’s Clinic of Kansas City. Young moms choosing “life” get incentives to shop in Josiah’s closet by taking various parenting classes. A guest speaker came to MHA and shared with our students, through age-appropriate communication and activities, the beauty of life (I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:…Psalm 139:14). The students have a goal to collect 135 clothing items. MHA may be small in number but our students and their families/friends are huge in heart:).

baby clothes

Will you help MHA collect NEW 0-12 month spring and summer clothes (boy or girl) for our spring mission project? We would like to have all clothes collected by March 28th.

Ways to get it to us:
Email me to make arrangements for pickup OR drop items off at Marian Hope Center (14820 E 42nd St, Independence).

Lastly, please pray for the Women’s Clinic of Kansas City and the moms and babies they serve.

Thank you for helping us support this amazing organization we have in our community.

In His Service~
Angie Knight

In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’~Acts 20:35