For over a year we prepared, and the day arrived, April 20, 2018, the first of the NEWS Worthy Network annual banquets became a reality. If I were to capture the evening in one word, it would be "connections". Connections were being built throughout the year, starting with the Board Members. We have a Board of individuals who are dedicated and committed to seeing the Vision of the Executive Director, Krista Knapp become a reality.
We are giving God the credit for hand picking and putting these members together. Tammy Lundgren was well versed in creating non-profit organizations, she also had worked in the counseling field, working with men and women, many of who had drug and alcohol problems. Tammy's credentials as a counselor, and volunteer helped the cause. Her computer skills were an asset to setting up the website, NEWSWorthyNetwork.org
Cory Duey, a well known and loved lady that had been involved in many ministries which included individuals of all ages. She is a real people person and has been in the service industry for many years. She has her own business, and her husband is also a successful businessman. Cory is an energetic, get r done, type of lady that always sees the glass over flowing.
Sharon Shock comes to us from DayOne of Greater Altoona, a non-profit counseling center. Sharon has been involved in counseling and fundraising to support many of the programs that were offered by DayOne. She has offered a lot of advice based on many of her experiences over the 20+ years with non-profit organizations. She has a creative flair and a real love for children. She has been involved in the start up of the Teen Camp and Day Camp that NWN will sponsor every July.
Kathy Rhodes, a recent retiree from FirstEnergy, who has been conducting Bible Studies in the Pyramid System since 2011, has had contact with many women going through recovery. She has maintained a mentoring relationship with many of the ladies. Since retirement she now volunteers at Pyramid Health Detox Center, and visits women inmates at the Blair County Prison.
Connections! It was obvious that we needed to connect with the agencies already battling the opioid epidemic. Krista has worked as an inpatient/detox nurse at Pyramid Health Systems, and has much experience in this field of work. Being an individual in recovery, she connects with many of those she has seen going through the program and encourages them to stay connected to the Lord. She is constantly reaching out to make the connections, first with Blair Drug & Alcohol Partnerships (BDAP). She makes it a point to get out and connect with the leaders in government and local businesses. The Lord prompts her to stop and strike up conversation with people, because everyone is a possible connection. The Board members got involved with the training offered by BDAP, and were able to make more connections.
The program we chose for our Recovery homes came from a connection with the Human Resource Director of CityReach Network on a missions trip to Bolivia. After the trip, we traveled to the HeadQuarters of CityReach to learn more about the faith based program they use. A decision was made to adopt a similar program, since they were experiencing a 90% success rate for those that completed the program. The program basically consists of structured learning, along with work services that eventually help sustain the cost of the house operation.
Another connection was with a special young lady, Ava Whiskers, who makes it a point to raise funds for organizations as a way of celebrating her birthday. Krista happened to meet Ava's grandfather, who proceeded to tell Krista about his granddaughter's efforts in celebrating her special day. The first Road to Recovery Walk, a 16 mile jaunt from Pyramid Health System to Currysville was held August 5, 2017. The Walk raised three thousand dollars, which included the sale of tee shirts to commemorate the event.
Then there was a connection with the Nehemiah Project, Pastor John Gray, who operates a men's recovery house, and was sensing that the Lord wanted a women's recovery house to be started. It was not a coincidence that we showed up just in time, to share the idea we had about opening a Recovery house. Pastor John made us aware of a house available in the Hope community area that was available for sale. November 16, 2017 we purchased what will become our first ladies long term recovery home.
The house demolition project brought about more connections. Bergemier's Hauling got involved along with IIID Plumbing who brought the entire crew in for a demolition day. Volunteers from the Foundry, the Lighthouse, Hope Community Church and New Life Worship Center worked along side the Board Members. Many hands made light work, and more connections were made.
Krista made a connection with the WTAJ News reporter, who came and provided the coverage we needed to make even more connections. One which resulted in the donation of furniture and a vehicle from a retiring Sister from St. Rose of Lima. God is bringing it all about, and we feel as though we are in his perfect timing.
Grant writing is a way we hope to get connected to some funding for our project. Not many people attempt to tackle this one, but we have been pursuing local and national grants. If that is your gift, we would really appreciate being connected with you! We hear of the many funds that are never allocated, but we are firm believers of "Ask and you shall receive" and Keep on asking!
Blog sites are popular now a days, and we were blessed to be connected to an accomplished author, Joy Bickle who provides the website with a weekly Blog. A gifted writer, you can get connected to her "Joy in the Journey" message on the website or on Facebook. Joy writes about life experiences and then relates them to biblical characters and situations. An inspirational word in due season!
Yard Sale items being donated through more "connections", or individuals who were on board with what we were doing. The donations were very generous, and made for a profitable yard sale. With the support of many of you, we will have two yard sales a year. We are preparing for June 1st & 2nd at New Life Worship Center, and then we will have one in the fall again. Supporters are our genuine connections!
Krista's husband wanted to do some fundraising, using one of his skills of washing windows. Jeremy took flyers and delivered them throughout a housing development in Hollidaysburg. Little did he know, the client that he cleaned windows for would be the connection needed to get our guest speaker for the banquet, the Honorable Jolene Kopriva.
As time grew closer to the Banquet, we knew we needed to recruit more helpers, and we "connected" with a group of individuals who later would be known as "Friends of NEWS Worthy Network". This group made connections to gather the Table Sponsors, Silent Auction gift baskets, and sell tickets for the event. They were there to make sure the banquet hall was set up and ready for all the guests that would be joining us.
And should we be surprised to find more connections at the Banquet. Individuals who had a story to tell about how they were personally affected by the loss of a loved one to drugs and alcohol. For those we offer a way for them to connect with our Adopt a Room project. We offer an opportunity for individuals or companies to memorialize the loss of a loved one, by purchasing a room for an individual in recovery. In their memory, a plaque in the room that is remodeled, will be a saving grace and help many individuals in the years to come.
It is because of all these Connections that N.E.W.S. Worthy Network is here.
It's because of all these connections, we will have the first long term ladies recovery home to open in the City of Altoona, and we promise not to stop at one.
Do you want to connect with us?
There is always a need for more individuals to get connected in the Battle against Drugs and Alcohol. Join us! Stand with us! Get and Stay connected!