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Mom's House Gala Will Focus On Empowerment August 21, 2017

The second annual fundraising gala to benefit Mom's House of Lancaster has been titled "An Evening of Empowerment." The event will be held on Friday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. at Lancaster Country Club, 1466 New Holland Pike, Lancaster, and will include dinner and live and silent auctions. An optional social will be held on the veranda following the gala for adults age 21 and older.

To highlight the event's theme, three past program participants will share how Mom's House empowered them to break the cycle of poverty through child care, support, and resources. A recent graduate, a person who graduated in 2008, and an individual whose daughter is now in college are slated to speak.

Executive director Sara Johns, who moved from the board of directors to the head of the organization in February 2015, also has a story of empowerment. Johns became a mother at 17 and had planned to quit school, but a tour of Mom's House changed the direction of her life.

"You can be successful by getting an education," Johns recalled hearing on the tour.

The program offered by Mom's House today is similar to the one that enabled Johns to continue to attend high school. Mom's House provides child care for infants as young as 6 weeks through preschool-age at no cost to single parents. The parents are required to be enrolled in school full time, achieve good grades, and invest three hours of service each week at Mom's House. One of those hours can be fulfilled by attending a life skills workshop.

"We try to have them do things they generally need in their everyday lives (for their service hours)," Johns explained. That includes cleaning the facility at 415 S. Queen St., Lancaster, disinfecting toys, and even writing thank-you letters to donors. "The moms really enjoy making that connection," Johns said of the letter-writing task.

Currently, Mom's House serves 21 families, and 25 additional families are on the waiting list. The proceeds from the gala will help toward reaching a goal of hiring a new staff person so that an additional eight families can be added to the active clientele. A new or expanded facility may also be in the organization's future. Discussing possible locations, Johns pointed out a common misconception about Mom's House: that its services are restricted to Lancaster city residents.

"(When it started), it was strictly city-based, but we are blessed with a philanthropic community, so now families (in need) have more transportation options," Johns said. "A lot of families we serve are coming from rural areas."

Proceeds from the gala represent a significant portion of the Mom's House budget, said treasurer and gala committee chair Dan Massey. Last year's inaugural event, which celebrated the organization's 25th anniversary, attracted between 120 and 130 attendees, more than the 100 organizers had hoped for.

"We'd love to have 200 (this year)," Massey remarked.

"We would like to attract some businesses (that) would like to be community supporters," added board member and gala committee member Jean Good.

Sponsorships in a wide range of price points are available for businesses and individuals, and the committee is accepting donations of items for the auctions. The committee is planning to feature six significant items or packages in the live auction and 50 or more lots in the silent auction. Current donations include a high-end necklace from a local jeweler, a custom Renaissance-style family portrait painted by a regional artist, and gift cards and certificates.

To learn more about the gala, schedule a donation, or purchase tickets by the deadline of Friday, Sept. 1, readers may visit


Small Group To Begin Study August 17, 2017

Millersville Community Church's Winning at Losing small group will start the study "Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food" on Monday, Aug. 28, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Meetings will take place at the church's Hope Campus, 242 Bender Road, Millersville.

In the six-week series, author Lysa TerKeurst explores why people make unhealthy food choices. The class is free, but each person must purchase his or her own participant guide.

For more information and to sign up, readers may contact the church office at 717-872-4571.


A Harvest To Share August 17, 2017

During the summers of 2016 and 2017, Sherri Patton of Zion Lutheran Church, 18 Quarry Road, Leola, oversaw the Leola Community Garden with help from Sue Orth, Zion's outreach director. During that time, the three raised beds and a plot of land have provided myriad vegetables to local food pantries and ministries, including Homes of Hope, Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services, and Breakout Ministries.

While Patton is thrilled that the project has been able to help meet the nutritional requirements of local families in need, she is more excited about the volunteers from local Scout troops, churches, and ministries who have helped with the project. "A lot of people have been a part of this," she said. "What it's about for me is everyone coming together and doing something good."

Patton's desire to start a garden has roots in her own family's challenges to live on one income and her interest in growing vegetables. "I have been a stay-at-home mom for seven years, and we have struggled financially," said Patton. "(My husband) worked two jobs, and ... food was one of our biggest issues. Getting good food when you're struggling financially is hard."

In 2012, Patton's family, which includes her husband, Ken, and children, Tristan and Addison, began volunteering for Homes of Hope. In February of 2016, the family began attending Zion Lutheran. "Through prayer, I had a vision (for a community garden)," said Patton, who shared her vision with Orth. The two women recruited their husbands to build two raised beds for the 2016 growing season. By the end of that summer, another raised bed and a garden plot, all located on church land, were providing vegetables.

Recruiting help to plant, weed, water, and harvest has not been difficult. Scouts from Troop 83 helped to move soil into the raised beds, and members of Cub Scout Pack 54, to which Patton's son belongs, have also lent a hand. "We have volunteers from Zion, from Calvary Church, and from Breakout Ministries," said Patton, who added that she has an email list of volunteers that she utilizes when help is needed.

While Patton said she has always been interested in gardening, she does not consider herself an expert. "I don't see myself as someone who has a green thumb," she said. "Growing corn is new to me. Growing squash is new to me. I just figure we'll try and see how it goes."

As the vegetables they have planted begin to ripen, Orth and Patton are excited to see the bounty that has grown. "I just picked 10 yellow squash," noted Orth, as Patton listed the types of vegetables growing in abundance. "We have carrots, onions, 10 types of peppers, and five or six types of tomatoes," Patton said.

Orth noted that enriching the diets of area residents has always been part of the plan. "We target ministries that deal with clients who don't have access to fresh produce," she said. "Breakout has a lot of members from the inner city."

As the harvest comes in, Patton is looking ahead to fall. "Behind where that corn is," she said, pointing to an area of the garden patch, "I would like to do a pumpkin patch and maybe (organize) something (involving pumpkins) for kids in the fall."

Patton also sees the garden as a teaching opportunity for her offspring. "I want my children to know that they can provide themselves with food and to learn about helping others," she said. "We have had a lot of help in the past few years, and I want to give back."

Patton added that the garden project can always benefit from more volunteers. Readers who wish to volunteer may contact the church at 717-656-9200. Individuals who want to learn more about the Leola Community Garden may search Facebook for "For the Love of Gardening."


GriefShare August 17, 2017

Bethel Church, 1674 Furnace Road, Brogue, will host GriefShare, a grief support group, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning on Sept. 5. The seminar program aims to offer healing after the loss of a loved one. Attendees will learn valuable information about recovering from grief and renewing hope for the future.

For more information, readers may contact Gloria Kline at 717-244-5237, Darlene Kauffman at 717-927-9117, or Pastor Kim at 717-927-9380 or


Memory Loss Support Group To Meet August 17, 2017

The Memory Loss Support Group for Caregivers will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 5, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at Mount Joy Mennonite Church, 320 Musser Road, Mount Joy.

The topic will be "An Update on Memory Loss Research."


Free Clothing Giveaway August 17, 2017

Hosanna! A Fellowship of Christians, 29 Green Acre Road, Lititz, will host a free clothing giveaway in the fellowship room at the church on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 7 to 11 a.m. Gently used clothing will be available for men, women, and children in a wide range of sizes. All are welcome.

For more information, call the church office at 717-626-2560 or visit


Nursery School Posts Openings August 17, 2017

Jacob's Ladder Nursery School, located at Chestnut Level Presbyterian Church, 1068 Chestnut Level Road, Quarryville, will accept enrollment for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. Classes and playgroups are offered for children ages 1 to 5 and will begin the week of Monday, Sept. 11.

For details and to enroll, contact 717-548-1257 or


Church Slates GriefShare Session August 16, 2017

Harmony Grove Community Church, 6390 Harmony Grove Road, Dover, will host GriefShare, a weekly seminar/support group for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. The group will meet from 6:30 to approximately 8 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning on Sept. 13. There will be 13 sessions.

For more information, readers may call 717-292-3659 or visit or


Christian Bereavement Ministry Set August 16, 2017

Mount Wolf Community Church, 98 S. Sixth St., Mount Wolf, will offer its Christian bereavement ministry on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. The group meets on the last Thursday of each month.

For more information, readers may contact Gala and Ken Simpson at 717-793-8082 or the church at 717-266-8453.


GriefShare Sessions Slated August 16, 2017

Grove United Methodist Church, 490 W. Boot Road, West Chester, invites the community to GriefShare, an educational support group for individuals age 18 and older who have lost a loved one due to death. The program will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Sept. 6 to Dec. 6.

Topics for discussion will include Challenges of Grief, Guilt and Anger, Complicating Factors, and more.

Free child care will be provided. Registration is requested. The set fee covers the book and materials, and scholarships are available. To register, contact the church office at 610-696-2663 or email Pastor George at


Clothing Drive August 15, 2017

The Charles Ludwig VFW Post 7362, 755 Rancks Church Road, New Holland, is seeking donations of clothing for its second annual clothing drive for veterans at the Coatesville Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.

Organizer and post commander Norman E. Brower Jr. noted that clothing for both men and women veterans, such as pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, and new stockings, will be accepted, as well as items such as carry-on bags and suitcases.

Interested individuals may schedule an appointment to deliver items to VFW Post 7362 by calling Brower at 717-824-3443.

According to Brower, many times veterans will arrive at the Coatesville VA Medical Center with only the clothing they are wearing. After receiving help through the center's programs and services, the veterans are able to leave the center to find employement and go on to lead a successful life.

VFW Post 7362 offers many programs and services to the community, including an American flag retirement program as regulated by the flag code, services to veterans and their families through the VA administration, and donations of hospital equipment.


Back-To-School Event To Feature Haircuts, Backpacks August 10, 2017

"We had seven salon chairs donated, and I just filled that last chair (with a stylist). We will have seven top stylists," enthused Drema Duncan, director and prekindergarten teacher of Preschool Pebbles, as she discussed the plans for the Scissors Snipping event she has slated for Sunday, Aug. 20. "We want local families to know they have somewhere to get (free) haircuts for back-to-school."

Scissors Snipping will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. at Living Stones Vineyard Church, 2292 Robert Fulton Highway, Peach Bottom, where the preschool is located. Professional stylists will give haircuts to children ages 3 to 10 at no charge. Children will also have the option to accessorize their new hairdos with headbands or barrettes.

To further ensure children have what they need for school, backpacks containing basic school supplies will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for those who need them.

The haircuts will be available to walk-ins, so anticipating that there may be some waits, Duncan has arranged for enjoyable things to do at no cost to participants. Two of the preschool's classrooms will be open for play - the third classroom will serve as the salon - and the outdoor playground will be accessible as well. A movie will be shown, and fresh popcorn will be served by Living Stones pastor Bud Stillman. Other snacks and beverages will be available in the church's cafe. Face painting will also be offered.

Duncan thought up the event and planned it out within a week's time.

"I have had such an awesome response in many ways so far: volunteer stylists and donations of back-to-school supplies and even gifts for kids," she said. "So many people are wanting to help, some as far as York."

Helping others and meeting needs are hallmarks of Living Stones Vineyard Church. Preschool Pebbles was launched in 2013 as a ministry of the church in order to provide a Christian-based safe, caring, and fun learning environment for children in the Southern End. The adults responsible for making that happen are Christine Lewis, who teaches the 2-year-old class; Brooke Wagner, who is the teacher of the 3-year-old class; and Patricia Giffing, who is the aide in Duncan's prekindergarten class.

"We provide a developmentally appropriate curriculum and interest areas to facilitate each child's learning experience," Duncan wrote in the preschool's brochure. "It is our desire that each child grows to love learning, learns a bunch, makes some awesome friends, learns how to be a positive part of a community, and gets to know Jesus."

The preschool is still enrolling for the 2017-18 school year. Classes are available for children who will be 2 years old by Saturday, Sept. 30, through age 5. Two-day and three-day programs are available. Classes will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from September through May. Afternoon classes will be added if there is enough interest.

To learn more about Scissors Snipping or the preschool, readers may contact Duncan at 717-344-4790 or The school may be found on Facebook by searching for "Preschool Pebbles."


Preschool Posts Fall Openings August 9, 2017

Calvary Lutheran Preschool, 9 N. Main St., Dover, has openings in its morning classes for children ages 3 and 4. The program is designed to promote school readiness using an age-appropriate learning curriculum. Classes are in session from September through May.

For more information, readers may call the preschool at 717-292-9551 or Deb at 717-683-2030 or visit


Hope's Closet To Offer Items August 9, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a bag sale on women's, men's, and children's clothing items. Women's items are available in all sizes from extra small to 3X, and men's clothing is available in sizes from small to 3X. Women's, men's, and children's shoes will be available at special savings. Business attire is available. Household items will include kitchen items, curtains, bedding, gifts, and more.

Many free clothing items, as well as free food, will be available. Shoppers who spend a set amount or more on merchandise will receive a free gift.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit


MOPW Will Host Clothing Giveaway August 8, 2017

"We're trying to fulfill the need God showed us," Nancy Harnish said, explaining why the Middle Octorara Presbyterian Women (MOPW) will host a clothing giveaway on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 7 to 11 a.m. "There's such a need in the community."

This is the third annual giveaway that the MOPW has hosted at Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church, 1199 Valley Road, located 4 miles east of Quarryville on Route 372. Everyone is welcome to take what they need from the items donated by church members and friends.

"We have enough clothes for everybody," remarked MOPW member Marlene Fromm. "People redd out their closets and bring the extra clothing to us."

Several rooms of the church have been filled with clothing, and on the day of the event, all of the items will be stacked on tables and hung on clothing racks. Newborn sizes through 5T will be located in the social room between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall, while the rest of the items will be in the fellowship hall. Bags will be provided, and guests may shop at no cost from the good-quality clothing, some of which is brand new and still has tags. A consignment shop in Strasburg has contributed items for the event. Little girls' dance outfits, medical scrubs, and maternity styles are among the offerings.

"The kids' and teenage school clothes go first," said MOPW moderator Cathy Miller.

"But the tables are (piled) so high," Fromm added, gesturing about 3 feet above a table. "There's plenty."

The times for the giveaway have been moved up an hour to accommodate another function at the church in the afternoon. Judging by last year, however, the earlier start will not be a problem for visitors.

"I got here at 6:30 a.m., and they were lined up already," Harnish recalled.

There is no cost for the clothing, but guests are invited to bring nonperishable food items and other donations for Solanco Neighborhood Ministries if they are able. Any leftover clothing will be picked up by the Salvation Army.

For more information about the clothing giveaway, readers may call MOPW member Shirley Miller at 717-786-3690.


Preschool Posts New Class August 4, 2017

Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC) Preschool, 2340 State St., East Petersburg, has announced a new class. An afternoon class will meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to accommodate children who are at least 4 years old by December 2017.

Students in this three-day class will learn and grow through thoughtfully planned activities that encourage them to develop academic, social, emotional, and physical skills that are important for success.

Classes will begin Wednesday, Sept. 6. To register, readers may contact Beth at 717-569-1632 or


Tools 4 School Distribution Event Planned August 4, 2017

The fifth annual Tools 4 School school supply distribution and clothing distribution event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 12, between 10 a.m. and noon at Zion Lutheran Church, 1290 River Road, Marietta.

Attendees will be able to pick up a variety of free items for school students of all ages. School supplies to choose from will include backpacks, binders, notebooks, dividers, filler paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, erasers, and highlighters. The event will also feature clothing that is gently used and clean, along with new underwear and socks in all sizes. Attendees will also have access to gently used books for all levels.

For more information, readers may contact Zion Lutheran at 717-426-1884.

The school supply distribution is organized by Zion Lutheran Church, and the clothing distribution is organized by St. John's Episcopal Church in Marietta. Tools 4 School is made possible by donations from businesses, organizations, and community members.


Preschool Promotes Autism Inclusivity August 4, 2017

Kids Express Preschool, a ministry of Grace Church at Willow Valley, 300 Willow Valley Square, Lancaster, is preparing to better serve children with autism.

"We want to be supportive to families," said Kids Express director Mary Liz Youtz. "We are not becoming an autism school, but our aim is to become inclusive."

In order to effectively and appropriately meet the needs of children with autism, Youtz reached out to Carolyn Bruey, program supervisor of Autism Solutions, a family service provided by IU13. Bruey trained the Kids Express teachers to work with students on the autism spectrum, and she also recommended a collaboration with Behavior Therapy International (BTI), a Camp Hill-based business that provides applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy tailored for children on the autism spectrum in any setting where it is needed: home, school, day care, and community. ABA therapy is evidence-based and is the only one of its kind recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General for addressing the needs of people with autism, said BTI owner Paul Eschbach.

Bruey explained that the Pennsylvania Autism Insurance Act of 2009 mandated that insurance companies must cover up to $40,000 annually for treatments related to autism. That funding can be used for ABA therapy provided through BTI. After students enroll at Kids Express and BTI verifies insurance coverage, a board-certified behavioral analyst will observe the students in all settings where "the most salient behaviors occur and with relevant stakeholders," Eschbach said. The analyst will create a treatment plan, which will include parent-training and teacher-training goals. The plan will be implemented by a registered behavior technician (RBT), who will partner with each student for six to 40 hours a week, during preschool and in other settings.

"One-on-one allows Kids Express Preschool to open up its doors to kids they may not have been able to serve," Bruey remarked.

Having each child with autism paired with an RBT will enhance the classroom experience for all Kids Express students, Youtz asserted. The RBTs will help their clients navigate social interactions with their peers, and typical students will become familiar with interacting with individuals with differences. Bruey noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that one in 68 children has autism, so it is important that organizations and individuals become competent and comfortable interacting, learning, playing, and working alongside people with autism.

Inclusivity and competence are important goals for Kids Express Preschool, according to Youtz. Since 1993, the preschool has strived to provide a loving Christian setting in which children ages 2 to 5 are encouraged to grow spiritually, academically, emotionally, socially, and physically. The school is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International and periodically undergoes a rigorous assessment by the organization.

"Children who leave here assimilate (easily) into kindergarten," Youtz said, adding that the Kids Express curriculum meshes with those of Penn Manor and Lampeter-Strasburg school districts. Additionally, Kids Express performs kindergarten testing for students entering Penn Manor schools.

The 2017-18 school year will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The school day will run weekdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m., with an optional lunch bunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The BTI assessment process will take several weeks, so parents of preschoolers with autism should not delay in contacting Youtz at 717-464-1439 or if they would like their children to be ready to start school on Sept. 5.

For more information about Kids Express or to enroll typical students, readers may visit Scholarships toward the cost of tuition are available.


Church Plans DivorceCare Sessions August 3, 2017

DivorceCare will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, from Sept. 7 to Dec. 14, at Derry Presbyterian Church, 248 E. Derry Road, Hershey. The 13-week support group is designed to help adults recover from the pain and separation of divorce. In addition, a DivorceCare4Kids program will be offered concurrently for participants' children ages 5 to 12. The group is designed to help children in their recovery from the hurt of divorce. Child care is available by request for younger children.

DivorceCare is a nondenominational program that features biblical teaching, small group discussion, video seminars led by experts on divorce and recovery topics, and a workbook to help participants explore topics in depth. Each DivorceCare session is organized in two parts. During the first 30 to 40 minutes of each session, the group reviews the previous week's topic, and members share about their lives. Then the group watches and discusses the next video in the series. The workbooks are used throughout the subsequent days to reinforce participants' understanding of the material presented in the sessions. Seminar topics include anger, depression, loneliness, new relationships, financial survival, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Each session is self-contained, so individuals may join at any time.

There is no cost to attend DivorceCare or DivorceCare4Kids, but advance registration is requested, as class size is limited. For information or to register, readers may contact the church office at 717-533-9667.


Widows Group To Meet August 2, 2017

Widow to Widow - Lancaster will meet on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m. in the Legacy Room at Worship Center, 2384 New Holland Pike, Lancaster. Elaine Severein will share about her mission trip to Russia.

All widows are welcome. For more information, readers may contact Severein at 717-468-5239.

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