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Seminar Set For Veterans September 13, 2018

A representative from the Lebanon County Department of Veterans Affairs will present a free educational seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 2 p.m. at Traditions of Hershey, 100 N. Larkspur Drive, Palmyra. Senior veterans and their families are invited to learn how they may be eligible for benefits that can help offset the cost of long-term care.

Seating is limited. To preregister, readers may call 717-838-2330.

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Donations Sought For Military Personnel September 13, 2018

Keystone Military Families invites the community to donate to its Stocking for Soldiers program. The organization's mission is to provide caring support for deployed military members in all branches of service, no matter where they are stationed. It provides care packages, holiday packages, letters, cards, and more to military personnel.

Kyle Lord founded the program in 2002. To date, this initiative has helped thousands of troops. All requests come directly from the troops, their families, or someone who knows a military member. Each package is custom made depending on the needs and requests of the troops.

The program's goal is to ship 10,000 stuffed stockings to military members this year.

Community members are invited to donate signed Christmas cards, food, hygiene items, and other requested items, along with monetary donations to offset shipping costs. Die-cut Christmas card paper stockings will be provided for a per-stocking fee in order to defray mailing expenses. The goal is to include one of the cards with each stocking mailed.

Individuals who wish to donate may drop off supplies at Blue Ridge Communications, 804 Academy Heights Drive, Ephrata, between Monday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Nov. 18. A display will be set up in the lobby in October with brochures and a list of requested items. A list of requested care package items can also be found at www.facebook.com/KeystoneMilitaryFamilies.

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Resource Family Orientations Set September 13, 2018

COBYS Family Services will offer resource family orientation sessions on Tuesdays, Oct. 2 and 16, at 6 p.m. at the COBYS Murry Hill Center office, 444 Murry Hill Circle, Lancaster. The sessions will be identical.

The orientation is designed for families that want to learn more about foster care and adoption through foster care. During each two-hour educational session, families will receive an introduction to the roles, expectations, and approval process for COBYS resource families. The orientation is free and places no obligation on those attending. Child care is not provided.

COBYS Family Services is a Christian family service agency, affiliated with the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren, that provides foster care and adoption services; counseling for adults, children, and families; and family life education. COBYS serves clients throughout southcentral Pennsylvania.

For more information or to reserve a space at an orientation session, readers may contact COBYS resource home coordinator Rachel Eshbach at 717-656-6580 or careforkids@cobys.org. Details about COBYS are available at www.cobys.org.

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Foster Parent Sessions Planned September 12, 2018

Families United Network, 412 S. Angle St., Mount Joy, is seeking foster families. The organization will host foster parent orientation sessions on Thursdays, Sept. 13 and 27, from 6 to 8 p.m.

To attend either of the sessions, readers may call 800-722-0136 or email Holly at htanner@families4kids.org.

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Prayer Initiative To Launch September 11, 2018

S.O.S. in Prayer, a prayer initiative, will meet on Mondays starting Sept. 10. S.O.S. in Prayer stands for "Surrounding Our Schools in Prayer."

The community is invited to join at any public park or trail, such as John G. Herr's Park, which surrounds two schools. Initially, this trail is expected to be an S.O.S. gathering place throughout the day. Participants may pray alone at a park bench or pray with others as they walk. They may also invite others to join them.

The purpose of the initiative is to unify the community and fight school violence through the power of prayer while glorifying God. There is no political agenda, no fee, and no one to contact, as the group members wish to remain anonymous.

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Easterseals Organization Posts Fundraiser September 10, 2018

The York Division of Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania (ESWCPA) will hold its inaugural Wonder Ball fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Country Club of York, 1400 Country Club Road, York.

The black-tie-optional event is open to the public and will feature keynote speaker Robert J. DeSousa, state director for Sen. Pat Toomey. DeSousa's career achievements in public service include serving as a Pennsylvania Army National Guard colonel and receiving the Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal. DeSousa is a supporter and former parent participant of Easterseals' Military Children Programs.

The Wonder Ball, a whimsical nod to "Alice in Wonderland," will benefit more than 2,000 individuals throughout the York region of ESWCPA annually. This year's event will serve as a kickoff for ESWCPA's 100th anniversary celebration in 2019. The event will include a served dinner, featuring live classical music by Codo Duo, followed by dancing and music provided by The Famous Rumors Band and a variety of entertainment throughout the night, including roaming magic acts by Ripley's Magic.

For more information or to purchase tickets, readers may contact Jessica Montour at 717-741-3891 or jmontour@eastersealswcpenna.org. Tickets may also be purchased at http://eastersealswcpenna.rallybound.org/wonderball. Sponsorships, silent auction donation opportunities, and volunteer opportunities are available.

Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania provides programs and services in 47 Pennsylvania counties to ensure that people with disabilities or other special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.

The Wonder Ball supports individuals with disabilities and military families in central Pennsylvania. Programs include therapeutic recreation camps for individuals with disabilities, camps for children of currently serving and veteran service members, autism social groups, community-based programs, and sign language interpreting services.

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Series To Address Opioid Epidemic September 7, 2018

Lancaster County Joining Forces (LCJF), in partnership with Compass Mark and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, will present a free, three-part series addressing the opioid epidemic in Lancaster County. All sessions are free to attend and will take place on select Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Alliance Church of Elizabethtown, 425 Cloverleaf Road, Elizabethtown.

The lecture series will kick off on Sept. 25 with Jack Sodak of Retreat at Lancaster County sharing on "Addiction - A Disease of the Mind and Body." On Oct. 9, Joel Jakubowski will speak on "How to Help a Loved One Struggling With Drug Use." The series will conclude on Oct. 23 as Deb McCoy of Compass Mark presents "How to Talk to Children About Drugs." To register for any or all of the sessions, interested individuals may visit www.lancasterjoiningforces.org.

According to Rosemary Search, health promotion specialist with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, LCJF launched as a community collaborative in 2017 with a primary aim of supporting and coordinating countywide efforts to reduce the number of deaths from overdoses of heroin and other opioids. LCJF brings key stakeholders and community members together to strengthen existing initiatives across all sectors, identify and address gaps in services and resources, and implement strategies for prevention, intervention, and monitoring.

"Opioid-related overdose deaths constitute a serious public health concern across the United States," stated Search. The United States federal government declared a national public health emergency in October 2017, with Pennsylvania declaring a statewide disaster emergency in January 2018.

"Lancaster County is not alone in this crisis, but it displays a higher rate of drug-related overdose deaths than the nationwide average," said Search, noting that more than 160 Lancastrians died from accidental overdose in 2017. "The opioid crisis is not a problem happening 'somewhere else,' nor is it limited to our nation's cities or among certain socioeconomic populations," Search emphasized.

Lancaster County is not only well-known for things like its agriculture and natural beauty, Search noted, but also for the way that its people come together to address the needs of the community. "Joining Forces is just the latest example - in this case bringing together dozens of organizations to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for opioid abuse prevention and help for those trapped in addiction," said Search.

LCJF strives to implement a continuum of care with an emphasis on both broad, community-based education and awareness and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, while also connecting people who are experiencing addiction to appropriate treatment and recovery support. Some of the organization's efforts include producing and distributing more than 93,000 brochures about opioid addiction and how to get help throughout the county and working with schools. LCJF currently offers evidence-based prevention programming in 13 school districts.

In the first three months of 2018, Lancaster County's rate of overdose deaths was down 20 percent from 2017, according to Search. "Early data from April through May suggests that rate of overdose deaths continues to head downward," said Search. "While it is too soon to say if this is a definite trend, we can say that this coordinated response to our county's opioid crisis exemplifies the concern and compassion we all share for the health and wellbeing of our fellow citizens."

Individuals who would like to learn more about hosting a presentation or series of presentations through LCJF may contact Sue Lackmann at 717-544-3284 or selackma@lghealth.org.

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Group To Hold Prayer Vigil September 7, 2018

Maytown Stands for Life will hold its 12th monthly prayer vigil/witness on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 2:30 p.m. The group will meet and pray in the Center Square of Maytown.

Readers with questions may call Larry Garber at 717-426-3689.

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VisionCorps Receives Grant September 6, 2018

VisionCorps Foundation has received a $20,000 grant from the Lancaster County Community Foundation and the Ada F. Harr Fund to support adult rehabilitation services. The Ada F. Harr fund provides for home health/custodial care for people impacted by illness or disability.

Grant funds will be used to impact and benefit Lancaster County residents who are experiencing vision loss or impairment. Through learned skills and assistive technology, clients may be able to remain independent and continue to live in their own homes.

Established in 1926, VisionCorps has helped to restore autonomy and independence for southeastern Pennsylvania residents who are blind or vision impaired. For more information on VisionCorps' services, readers may visit www.visioncorps.net or contact Chris Ament, vice president of rehabilitation, at 717-291-5951, ext. 4165.

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Organizations To Offer Forum September 6, 2018

Samaritan Safe Church/Safe Places is partnering with The Emerald Foundation to offer "When Institutions Fail to Protect Our Children: A Community Forum," focused on child sexual abuse, at The Emerald Foundation, 2120 Oregon Pike, Lancaster, on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m.

The forum is for people who care about children and their safety. It will focus on what can be done to protect children, including in settings such as churches, athletic clubs, and youth organizations. It will also highlight how parents, adults, and community members can respond.

No registration is required. Readers with questions may call Lizz at 717-560-9989 or email LDurbin@scclanc.org.

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Pressley Ridge To Receive Donations September 6, 2018

Pressley Ridge, an organization dedicated to providing foster care and services for children, adults, and families facing difficult challenges and complex situations, has started a new partnership with OWL Chiropractic Center. The partnership is designed to support Pressley Ridge by bringing in financial and material donations.

Through the partnership, all new patient fees at the center will be donated to Pressley Ridge. Additionally, the center holds donation drives in its office. During the holidays, the office displays an angel tree through which patients can supply items such as toys and clothing for Pressley Ridge children.

The office is currently collecting new and gently used suitcases to fill with personal hygiene products such as soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues, and other items to be given to children in foster care.

Pressley Ridge is headquartered in Pittsburgh, with central Pennsylvania offices in Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, and Camp Hill. For more information on Pressley Ridge, readers may visit www.pressleyridge.org.

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Teal Sisters Seek To Raise Awareness September 4, 2018

Kate Green, Kathy Kuhns, Maureen Lewandowski, and Connie Radziewicz are just a few of the 20-plus women who make up the Teal Sisters, a multigenerational support group for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After crossing paths at the office of Dr. Jacqueline Evans, a Lancaster-area gynecologic oncologist, the ladies began meeting together in 2015 on the fourth Tuesday of each month to talk and support one another. Teal is the color that symbolizes ovarian cancer, so the ladies also sport the shade for Teal Tuesdays.

"We met informally at each other's houses but decided in addition to talking about where we were and laughing, we'd (raise) some awareness, because ovarian cancer is silent," explained Green. "But we're not silent about it."

To jumpstart those efforts, the Teal Sisters marched in the Millersville Parade in 2017, flanked by a teal pickup truck as they handed out teal mints and lollipops and information about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. According to Lewandowski, who leads educational presentations on the topic with other Teal Sisters, ovarian cancer is usually not detected until it has progressed to stage three or four, but early detection can mean the difference between life and death.

Lewandowski references the BEAT acronym provided by the NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative when teaching others about the symptoms, which include: Bloating that is persistent; Eating less, feeling fuller; Abdominal and/or back pain; and Trouble with bladder and bowels. "The big thing is if the symptom lasts for more than two weeks," emphasized Lewandowski. Many women are unaware that a Pap test does not test for ovarian cancer; therefore, Lewandowski urges women to be their own advocate and request an ovarian cancer screening if they are experiencing any symptoms.

"All of our stories are different, but every single one of us at one point said something like, 'Well, I thought it was just fill-in-the-blank, but then it wouldn't go away,'" said Lewandowski. "You don't want to think you have cancer."

"Most of the people in the group have ovarian cancer, but we'd like to increase awareness for all types of gynecological cancers," Lewandowski continued. "The important thing for people to know is that there's treatment. The doctors are very conscious of the quality of your time."

Green added, "Your life does not stop. I went to the China in the middle of my chemotherapy. There are options out there, and if one doesn't work, you try something else." The Teal Sisters make it a point to say they are "living with cancer" rather than the commonly heard alternative of "dying with cancer." "We're not gloom and doom," said Radziewicz.

In September, which is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, the Teal Sisters will take part in Turn the Towns Teal, a national campaign to promote awareness of the symptoms and risk factors associated with ovarian cancer. The ladies encourage individuals, businesses, and communities throughout Lancaster and York to get involved by displaying biodegradable teal ribbons on their property. Some towns participate by turning fountains teal or lighting up buildings at night with teal spotlights. Lewandowski recalled that the Pennsylvania State Capitol was aglow in teal for the month of September last year.

The Teal Sisters will be tying teal ribbons along Hellam Street in Wrightsville and, they hope, in as many other locations as possible. To order teal ribbons and learn more about Turn the Towns Teal, readers may visit www.turnthetownsteal.org.

Individuals and organizations that would like to inquire about having the Teal Sisters give an educational presentation on the risk factors and subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer may contact Radziewicz at conniesratt@comcast.net.

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Church To Offer ESL, Citizenship Classes August 30, 2018

Elizabethtown Alliance Church, 425 Cloverleaf Road, Elizabethtown, is slated to begin its fifth year of offering English as a Second Language (ESL) and citizenship classes. Registration night will be Wednesday, Sept. 5, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and classes will take place on Wednesdays starting Sept. 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

During the registration night, new students can sign up for a class, meet teachers, visit classrooms, and look at materials. Returning students do not need to attend registration night and may instead report to the first class on Sept. 12. There is a registration fee for first-time enrollees.

Students in ESL classes will be placed in class levels in which they are comfortable. Vocabulary building and conversational English will be emphasized at all levels.

The citizenship class will cover the U.S. Constitution and American history. It is open to anyone interested in preparing for the American Citizenship Test.

For more information, readers may contact Kara Werner at 717-769-1579 or the church office at 717-367-2995.

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JFS Plans Panel Discussion August 27, 2018

Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Lancaster will present "What's Special in Special Needs: Services and Rights for Special Needs Students" on Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Emerald Foundation, 2120 Oregon Pike, Lancaster. The panel discussion is the third segment of JFS' community education initiative. Coffee and desserts will be available at 6:30 p.m. The discussion will take place from 7 to 9 p.m.

The panelists will discuss ways to successfully attain necessary and appropriate services for students with special needs while avoiding unnecessary conflict and litigation. The discussion will be moderated by Maureen Westcott, executive director of The Arc of Lancaster Lebanon. The panelists will include a parent advocate, a school administrator, a recipient of special needs services, a school psychologist, and an attorney.

For more information about the program, email jfshelps@gmail.com.

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Organization Receives Donation August 22, 2018

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Rising Together Group Slated August 10, 2018

Samaritan Counseling Center's Safe Places program will start a six-week group called Rising Together on Monday, Aug. 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Samaritan Counseling Center, 1803 Oregon Pike, Lancaster. The group is for parents and caregivers of children who have been sexually abused.

Trauma-trained therapist Lisa Hanna Witmer will facilitate the group, which will focus on the impact of abuse on the survivor and the family. Through guided discussion and shared activites, participants will explore topics including trauma response, grief and loss, necessary changes, and family impact. Rising Together aims to offer a place for attendees to express faith, experience community, and know that they are not alone in their experiences.

Registration is required, and separate costs have been set per person and per couple. To register, readers may visit http://scclanc.org/events/. Those with questions may contact Lizz Durbin at 717-560-9969, ext. 254.

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CROP Hunger Walk Set In Stewartstown August 8, 2018

The Stewartstown Area CROP Hunger Walk will be held on Sunday, Oct. 21, with goals of 40 walker groups, six teams, and $3,600 raised. All funds raised help end hunger and poverty through long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger. A portion of the funds raised through the local walk will go to the food pantry of Mason-Dixon Community Services in Delta. Last year, 39 walkers raised $3,353.

Stewartstown Presbyterian Church, 14 College Ave., Stewartstown, will be the starting point for the CROP Hunger Walk, with registration at 1 p.m. This year there will be a choice of three route distances, starting at just under a mile. Also new will be a snack-packing event just before and after the walk. This hands-on project will provide Mason-Dixon Ministries with snacks for clients it serves.

The Stewartstown Area CROP Hunger Walk committee is seeking teams of walkers and sponsors of cash or in-kind donations for the walk. Readers may contact judygrove@verizon.net or 717-741-4366 for more information, to sign up a team of walkers, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities.

CROP Hunger Walks help to teach sustainable ways to grow food and provide additional sources of food and income to families facing extreme challenges. Readers may learn more about the work that the CROP Hunger Walk supports at www.crophungerwalk.org.

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Donation Drive Held For School Supplies August 8, 2018

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Lace Up For Orphans August 3, 2018

Brittany's Hope Walk Of Love Set For Sept. 15

The team members of Brittany's Hope are thrilled to have an honored guest who has traveled all the way from Texas to train for and attend the 14th annual Walk of Love Cross Country 5K and Fun Walk on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Stone Gables Estate, 1 Hollinger Lane, Elizabethtown.

Dolly, one of the newest miniature ponies to reside in the Shepherd's Staff Petting Zoo at the Star Barn Village at Stone Gables Estate, has already begun training with caretaker and international award-winning trainer Carl O'Callaghan. Dolly will run the 5K race pulling a cart with her trainer on board to help raise funds for Brittany's Hope. "Dolly trains five days a week, so she's pretty fit. We're very fortunate because we're here, so we can do the course a few times before the event," O'Callaghan said.

Brittany's Hope is an Elizabethtown-based nonprofit organization committed to aiding orphans in crisis and helping special needs children to be adopted into forever families. Brittany's Hope provides grants to families that are in the process of adopting and has implemented programs in Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Kenya that provide holistic care directly to orphans.

Mai-Lynn Sahd, executive director of Brittany's Hope, said that the organization has set a fundraising goal of $65,000 for this year's event. That amount would enable Brittany's Hope to provide adoption grants for seven children with special needs or help with the construction of a much-needed living residence for up to 28 orphaned children with disabilities in a rural and remote area of northern Vietnam. Sahd said the new residence will provide safe, modern, clean living space and bedrooms and feature adaptive furniture and bathrooms to enable the children to gain independence. A physical therapy room and common area for the children are also planned, and the residence will be staffed by trained professionals who can provide 24/7 medical care and help the youths to develop basic living skills.

The Walk of Love, a fun-filled, family-friendly event, will begin at 8:30 a.m. and feature a 5K, a fun walk, games and activities for children, competitions for adults, giveaways, and food. Free face painting, miniature golf, miniature fishing, and pony rides will be among the festivities for children. Folks may also visit the animals that live on the property at the Shepherd's Staff Petting Zoo.

To register for the Walk of Love, interested individuals may visit www.walkoflove.org and enter the discount code "MERCH15" for 15 percent off the registration rate. All registrants will receive a T-shirt and goodie bag. Participants who opt to raise additional funds by setting up a page through https://walkoflove2018.causevox.com/ will have the chance the win special prizes. Folks who are unable to attend but would still like to contribute financially may do so at the aforementioned website.

On the day of the event, registration and games will open at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K will begin with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. Runners will follow a new route through Stone Gables Estate, with the start and finish lines located beside the recently relocated and restored Star Barn and its outbuildings. The 5K will be chip-timed, and participants will cover ground on rolling wooded trails, bridges, and historic railroad tracks.

The fun walk - a short, noncompetitive loop through the woods and manicured grounds of Stone Gables Estate - will begin at 10:10 a.m.

A post-race lunch and brief awards ceremony will begin at approximately 11 a.m. Giveaway winners will also be announced at that time. Awards will be given to the top three overall 5K finishers and to the top three male and female 5K finishers in each age group. The single top overall runner will receive a cash prize.

To learn more about Brittany's Hope, readers may visit www.brittanyshope.org.

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Pamoja Event Postponed August 3, 2018

Horizon: Empower the Orphaned has postponed the "Pamoja: An Evening in Kenya" event, which was to be held at Manheim Brethren in Christ Church on Thursday, Aug. 9. The postponement was made due to unforeseen Visa issues.

It has been rescheduled for Friday, April 12, 2019. More details will follow.

To learn more about the organization, readers may visit www.empowertheorphaned.org.

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