HOPE Readies Projects for 2014

Site of Project HOPE Teen Center

Site of Project HOPE Teen Center

“We’re almost ready to gain our non-profit 501C3 status,” according to Project HOPE executive director, Lori Hammer.  She briefed HOPE Coalition members during the monthly meeting held at the Lincoln School in Lamar on Tuesday, January 21.    Hammer relayed some hopeful news to the members regarding future grant funding, stating that Tony Grampus grant has been submitted and an announcement is expected in April on its approval.   Hammer stated that the philanthropic organization, El Pomar, has expressed interest in Project HOPE and the teen center.  A Coalition representative met and spoke with an El Pomar member during a recent philanthropy seminar in Ordway who described the goals and accomplishments of Project HOPE.  Apparently El Pomar, which has helped fund numerous non-profit organizations throughout the state, was unaware of Project HOPE and expressed interest, requesting more information which could result in additional funding.  Project HOPE’s current four year grant will expire next September. 

HOPE Chili Supper, 2012

HOPE Chili Supper, 2012

One fund raising activity is moving forward, the second annual community chili supper and silent auction will be held on Thursday, January 30 from 6pm to 8pm at the Lincoln School.  Approximately 300 servings are being prepared.  The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students.  Coalition members are seeking donations from local businesses and anyone wishing to donate may contact Lori Hammer at 688-3954. 

Some 2014 programs for students were reviewed, some new and some are returning for another session.  Emily Nieschburg of LiveWell Prowers County outlined the Photo-Voice program which has students taking health-oriented photos of their neighborhoods and towns.   They’ll learn the basics of photo-journalism, labeling photographs and based on entries, could win a personal camera.  Another new project will teach students how to repair their own bicycles.  The Lamar Police Department is donating unclaimed, abandoned bicycles to the HOPE Center and volunteer mechanics are being sought to help teach interested students. 

Hammer said ladies from the local 4H groups are returning with a three week course called “The Science of Food” which had a good attendance the first time it was presented.  There are still some openings available on the “Why-Try” program, geared for 7th – 10th grade students.  The course helps develop positive self-awareness for students through several sessions in which positive or negative descriptions of behavior are labeled and discussed.  The course also helps develop teamwork, problem solving games are used and techniques for opening new friendships among students are also developed. Anthony La Tour described a Wait Training program which runs for eight weeks and helps students make responsible choices regarding personal sexual responsibility. 

Although the subject wasn’t on the agenda, Danny Tinnes, from the Lamar RE-2 school board, reflected on the often positive impact the former Project Acquire program had on students that had either been expelled or dropped out from school.  He spoke to a general agreement from the group, that the program, which ceased operation several years ago, would be beneficial if it could be re-started.

By Russ Baldwin

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