For 30 years, New Choices has been serving Lancastrians in need of career help with a personal touch. "With New Choices we give one-on-one individualized attention, and we follow up," said Tricia Nabors, program director of New Choices Career Development Program. "Someone coming to New Choices is typically in disarray. They are coming to us to be heard and to be led."
Nabors and friends of the organization would like to help New Choices kick off its 31st year with a fundraiser to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Annie Bailey's, 28 E. King St., Lancaster, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will feature auction items, hors d'oeuvres, and more.
The auction portion of the event will focus in part on a home party business that sells brand-name bags. "Each auction item will be a (brand-name) bag filled with (items revolving around a theme)," said fundraiser coordinator Amanda Funk. Funk said that items may include a spa bag, a game night bag, an athletic bag, and more. Fellow organizer Carolyn Witwer said that the bags will be both theme- and experience-driven, since they may include gift cards or tickets to events.
Attendees will also be able to help New Choices by sponsoring a client's need. "We will have donation sheets for attendees to buy a woman a gas card, pay an application fee, or purchase a textbook for a nursing student in the program," explained Funk.
Nabors noted that New Choices has grown and changed over the years based on funding and the changing needs of clients. "The premise of New Choices was to be a program for displaced homemakers," said Nabors, who said that the program worked with stay-at-home mothers who found themselves in need of transitioning back into the workforce. Sometimes the women needed more education, or sometimes they needed help writing their resumes. Several years later, New Choices began a men's program that helped men who were looking to work in nontraditional positions such as nursing.
Now, the mission of the program is to help women who are single and first-time parents, displaced homemakers, or dislocated workers. "Typically (clients) come in because they want to go back to school or they may need help with self-promotion or resumes," said Nabors. The program offers a number of resources to clients at a time that can often be stressful. "(Clients) are walking in (to New Choices) with a plethora of different ways they can go, and that can be overwhelming," explained Nabors, who added that the face-to-face help the organization provides can be invaluable during a transitional time.
New Choices also offers a program called New Beginnings, which helps female inmates within 30 to 90 days of release from the Lancaster County Prison to transition into the outside world with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency in a number of areas.
Nabors said that New Choices also allows clients to return if additional help becomes necessary in the future. "Once (clients) are part of our program, they are always part of our program," said Nabors. "I just had a student call from 2004 who needs help and one from 2008 who is in registered nursing school and needs help with her resume." Nabors said that New Choices services more than 200 first-time students each year.
Tickets are necessary to attend the fundraiser, and Funk pointed out that more than 70 percent of the ticket price will be donated to New Choices.
Readers who wish to purchase tickets may visit http://www.newchoiceslancaster.org. More information about New Choices may be found by searching for "New Choices Career Development Program" on Facebook or by calling 393-1735 ext. 235.