Happy fifth birthday, Neighbor to Neighbor!
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Scores of longtime supporters and new friends turned out this afternoon to help celebrate Neighbor to Neighbor’s fifth birthday.
The Sisters of St. Joseph opened the day center for women in downtown Concordia on May 5, 2010. Greeting the people attending today’s open house and party were the same three women who founded the center: Sisters Jean Befort, Pat McLennon and Ramona Medina. Joining them for the celebration were numerous other sisters, members of the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph, people who volunteered during the early construction phases of the project, current volunteers, current and past donors, women who today regularly visit the center, plus others from throughout the community.
In addition to conversation and refreshments, the three sisters offered tours of the two-story building, explaining the programs and services offered there and answering a wide array of questions.
From Monday through Friday at Neighbor to Neighbor, the sisters and volunteers offer classes and services that range from one-on-one tutoring for GED exams to providing a place to do laundry or take showers. On any given day, there may be personalized instruction in sewing, baking, lace- and jewelrymaking, household budgeting and painting.
And, for some moms, the center has become a place to go with their young children, to give the kids a chance to play and the moms a chance to befriend other moms. There are organized “play groups” two days a week and more informal activity in the playroom the rest of the week.
Some of the most successful efforts include the “Little Dresses for Africa” project, in which women at Neighbor to Neighbor have made and donated more than 700 dresses; “Reading with Friends,” a preschool storytime that began in 2012 and provides free books to the families taking part; and the annual Holiday Boutique, where women have the opportunity to sell the artworks and craft items they have made at the center.
In 2014 alone, Neighbor to Neighbor welcomed more than 3,800 guests. So far in 2015, the number is nearly 1,300 — not counting the crowd this afternoon.
There is never any cost to the women taking part in any of the programs; all the instruction and materials are offered free, with funding coming from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, a handful of grants and individual donations.
“This is about one neighbor helping another,” as Sister Ramona explains it.
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One thought on “Happy fifth birthday, Neighbor to Neighbor!”
Congratulations, Pat, Jean and Ramona, for providing a space of love for many to meet and share lives.