Help. Hope. Healing.
This is the focus of a new Allegany County community outreach to aid individuals and families who are struggling with a variety of life issues.
The Hope Center, a ministry of the Mission Genesee Valley coalition of churches, other Christian organizations and individuals, opened in November 2018 at 4194 Bolivar Road, Suite 5, across the driveway from the McDonald’s drive-thru.
The initiative, referred to as A Hub of Hope of Allegany County Churches, is designed to provide assistance to any individual or family who is struggling with one or more life issues, spanning 13 identified life stages from preconception to post-death. Each of these can involve trauma and its debilitating impacts upon individuals and families, even years later.
For example, a 1997 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research study conducted by the American health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that individuals experiencing six or more early childhood traumas live, on average, 20 years less than those who have not experienced various traumas.
A major emphasis at the Hope Center is on developing its reading assistance component. This is due to poor reading skills having potential for trauma impact resulting from stigma and bullying while young, along with lower paying jobs, potential family conflicts, poverty, activities that can result in incarceration, and more in older years.
Services, available to individuals from any religious background, also include a drop-in center where individuals can receive prayer for personal, family or other concerns, information and referral assistance and connection to applicable resources for a variety of life issues, and a growing Christian lending library that also will offer free books and videos. Educational seminars will help consumers learn about community issues and resources and churches understand more about these concerns and how to come alongside those who may be struggling with life issues.
A desire is for the Hope Center concept replicated by churches in other Allegany County population centers, with the extent and applications based on local community needs.
Potential volunteers for all phases of the initiative should contact their pastors for information on how to become involved.
Further information, including primarily free activities available to individuals and families in the greater Allegany County area, is available at www.facebook.com/HopeCenterAlleganyCounty, or from Casey Jones, Hope Center Planning Group chair, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (484) 435 – 0503.