Center of Hope to begin new community outreach. “Harvesting Hope” Mentoring program will take place in Shamokin, open house Sat., Nov 8th, 2014 6-9pm

News Item Article 11-6-14 - HH

Group hopes to ‘Harvest Hope’ with self-sufficiency mentoring program

SHAMOKIN – An open house to introduce a new mentoring program designed to empower people toward self-sufficiency will be held Saturday.

Harvesting Hope, an offshoot of the Susquehanna Valley Center of Hope counseling group in Danville and Shamokin, hopes to create new avenues for a Biblically based support system.

“We have these great mentors that come from all different backgrounds and talents,” said Laura James, Director of Partnership

Development for the Center of Hope. “Saturday, we want to show this area what we have to offer and see what mentoring classes people are interested in.”

Saturday’s event, 6 to 9 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus social hall, 400 E. Independence St., will also introduce Marty Sinopoli as the center’s newest staff counselor/mentor, working out of Dr. Wayne Miller’s office in Shamokin.

Having recently joined Center of Hope, Sinopoli spearhead a mentoring outreach program that met every other week in Danville.

“There were a number of people from Shamokin who were carpooling from Shamokin, so I thought this would be a great program to bring here,” said Sinopoli, who formerly operated Gigi’s gifts at The Plaza at Coal Township. Her mentoring group recently moved to the Antioch Room at Water and Market Streets, Shamokin, home of the Lifetree Cafe discussion series.

Mentor Andrea Whyne-Martz praised the effort.

“Once I met with Marty and Laura, and saw the passion they had for this program, I was immediately on board,” Whyne-Martz said.

Sinopoli said many of the classes they hope to offer are basic: learning life skills such as opening a bank account; using coupons to save on groceries; and canning and preserving foods.

Whyne-Martz hopes to offer outdoor survival classes in the future, including lessons on how to identify poisonous snakes and plants, learning how to build shelters and fire, and “leave-no-trace” techniques.

There is also talk about future workshops on art, drawing, journaling and for self-esteem for young females that would include tips about makeup and personal care.

Sinopoli said the Bible can serve as a great guide.

“We have all seen the transformation that comes from the power of Christ. He died for us to give us a new chance in life. That’s what we hope to do through Harvesting Hope,” she said. “If we teach people skills, it improves their self-esteem, their self-confidence and gains the confidence to be a better person in their life.”

Whyne-Martz, Sinopoli and other mentors, Vicki Burt-Jones and Traci Beck, along with other volunteers, will be present Saturday to discuss classes they will be offering.

“Ever since we announced the open house and the program, we have received a great outpouring of support from the community,” James said. “A number of businesses and individuals have donated door prizes and materials for the classes.”

The WhatNot Shoppe Cafe in Shamokin has offered to be a drop-off point for materials.

“Every other Friday, we hope to have something new and wonderful to offer to the community, give them the tools to learn new skills and make sure no one falls through the cracks,” James said.

The event will also feature a candy buffet and other surprises. More information about Harvesting Hope and Saturday’s open house can be found at the event’s Facebook page or by calling the Center of Hope at 570-275-2280.