Hope has arrived, the Hope Center of Warren County that is.
The volunteer-driven organization opened its doors at 2447 Smithville Highway in June and is working to establish a wider presence in the community. With a board of directors and around 35 volunteers, Hope Center is offering several support group classes and plans to offer many more.
Parenting classes and anger management classes are two of the current offerings. There are also classes for suicide bereavement and fibromyalgia support.
Volunteers say many more services are on the horizon such as financial planning, alcohol and drug classes, nutritional advice, crisis pregnancy support, and family and individual counseling.
“We don’t provide any financial assistance because there are already several organizations set up for things like that,” said Harry Green, a member of the board of directors. Green noted several government agencies already help people pay rent and utilities.
“When people need help, a lot of the time it’s just because of a lack of training,” Green said. “If people don’t know how to parent, it could be because they didn’t have good parents themselves. People don’t know how to hold a job because many of them have never had a job. We are here to provide support, but people must be willing to help themselves.”
Since the Hope Center moved into its new facility on June 17, much of the emphasis has been on improving the building. There are now individual and group meeting rooms, a reception area and board room, and even a room devoted to prayer.
“We don’t have any real parameters,” said Green. “We’re about helping people get on their own two feet.”
One recent client was a divorced mother who had not worked in seven years. Hope Center helped her prepare a résumé and worked on some job interview skills with the goal of finding her employment.
“We want this to be a community place where we support the community,” said Carol Ann Richardson, another member of the board of directors. “The only way we’re going to be able to break the cycle is by changing it.”
Richardson said Hope Center wants to provide relevant services that aren’t offered by other organizations. And if other organizations offer a specific service, Hope Center would like to know.
“We would like to develop a database of other organizations in Warren County and what they offer,” said Richardson. “That way we won’t duplicate services and that way we can steer people in the right direction. We may not offer it here, but we can tell them where to go.”
Hope Center has regular office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday. The phone number is 815-7800. Volunteers are always on hand during regular office hours, Green said. Hope Center is located just past Gateway Tire.
“Some people have come in here crying and just need prayer,” said Green.
As a nonprofit organization, Hope Center is also in need of donations. This can be simple items like office supplies, paper towels and toilet paper. Monetary donations are also accepted.