Gifts That Give Hope - Part 4

Gifts That Give Hope - Part 4

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901 – 1978)

The list of terrific non-profit organizations participating in this year’s Gifts That Give Hope alternative gift fair goes on . . .

Since 1968, Tabor Community Services, Inc has been helping Lancaster County families become financially self-sufficient and obtain decent affordable housing. Tabor was founded by members of the Mennonite community in Lancaster who wanted to “demonstrate their concern for others through action and to work to eliminate the forces that divide us as a community.” In Tabor’s nearly five decades of helping to rebuild communities, they’ve received numerous awards, including national awards from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Tabor is a major collaborative partner in the East King Improvement District in Lancaster city, as well as Lancaster’s Community Homeless Outreach Center (CHOC). They also operate two transitional housing facilities: Transitional Living Center (TLC) and Beth Shalom. (NOTE: Both TLC and Beth Shalom are partners in the Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization (RMO). In future blog posts I will be featuring each of them in full-length articles as RMO partners)

Teen Haven is a program of Water Street Ministries, designed to equip urban youth to have a positive impact on their neighborhoods, families and churches, through Christian faith & guidance. It started when a man named Bill Drury started knocking on the doors of teen gang members in Philadelphia back in 1963. There are now Teen Haven centers in Lancaster, as well as York and Philadelphia. Teen Haven runs youth leadership camps, as well as a summer camp for urban youth and camp retreats during the school year. In addition, they have a college scholarship program for the youth they serve.

The Lancaster Science Factory became a reality through the determination of a former advertising executive in Lancaster named Jim Bunting. Bunting became concerned about children who struggled to learn in school classrooms and he was convinced that offering hands-on, interactive learning opportunities would allow all children to advance, especially in science and math. He looked around the United States for possible models for creating such a learning environment, and the Lancaster Science Factory was born. The Science Factory offers over 50 interactive exhibits that appeal to kids of all ages in light and vision, electricity and magnetism, mechanics and motion, structural engineering, acoustics, fluid dynamics and other areas.

Weekday Religious Education was created by a group of concerned pastors in Manheim in 1979, who wanted to provide religious education to children in public schools. They operate under a section of the Pennsylvania School code which “allows children with parental permission to be released from public school for up to 36 hours per year for Religious Education.” WRE has been operating for over 30 years and now serves hundreds of school children in various parts of Lancaster County.

What struck me as I did a little research to learn more about each of these organizations was that each one was started because a “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” saw a need for change . . . and decided to do something about it. That’s been the story behind so many of these wonderful nonprofit groups. It made me feel grateful and blessed that Lancaster County is full of people such as these. Please come out and support them all on November 20th.

Gifts That Give Hope Alternative Gift Fair
WHEN: Sunday, November 20, 2011 from 10:00AM – 4:00PM
WHERE: Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601

Oh – and please help spread the word using LIKE or SEND buttons below. And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE or FOLLOW my blog (links on the right) to stay informed about other terrific people and organizations striving to make a positive difference in the world. And thanks!

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: city life lancaster pa peace

Next: The Next Generation of Peacemakers

Previous: Gifts That Give Hope - Part 3