After months of discussion and planning, the Hope Center is ready to explain their mission to the community and build a broad base of support.
A fund-raiser set for Nov. 22 is called "An Evening With Miss Kansas — An Evening of Hope." Hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Sponsors for the event are The Peoples Bank, Stanion Wholesale Electric Co., First National Bank in Pratt and the Wine Shop At Home.
Theresa Vail will share her experiences at the Miss America Pageant, demonstrate her prowess with a bow and arrow and perform a vocal selection.
From the time she was crowned Miss Kansas in June and in the run-up to the selection of Miss America 2014, Vail garnered more media attention than any contestant in recent memory, as an atypical pageant competitor. Vail is a dental technician in the Kansas Army National Guard, an avid bow hunter and an advocate of empowering women by breaking down stereotypes.
Named "America's Choice" by online voters, she is the first Kansas contestant to break into Miss America's Top 10 in many years.
The evening is an opportunity for the community to welcome Vail back to Pratt and celebrate her accomplishments.
Other speakers include the Rev. Scott Powell, president of the Hope Center Board of Directors, who will explain the group's vision, and Jeanette Siemens, with a message about Circles, a program aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.
The people organizing Hope Center as an outreach of the Pratt County Ministers Association have always planned it to be more than a rescue for people in need, according to board member Sheryl White, but a way to help people learn to make decisions to get themselves and their families on a solid financial footing.
"Circles has a fairly nice rate of success," White said.
Volunteers have been working to renovate the former Cox Communications building at 314 S. Main as a headquarters. Agape Health Clinic, which has served income-qualifying residents without health insurance for two years, will hold its Dec. 7 clinic at the new location.
The simulation hospital at the Pratt Community College Chandler School of Nursing has been home to Agape during its first two years, and has been a wonderful facility, White said.
However, the Agape board, of which she is also a member, made the decision to move downtown for greater visibility, to ease transportation problems for some of their clients, and for the convenience of clinic volunteers. Manager Jeanette Gaider and a cadre of workers spend a couple of hours every month setting up for a clinic and an equal amount of time returning the nursing lab to the way they found it.
The community is invited to an open house at the Hope Center from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.
The center is still a "work in progress," White said, but volunteers have been busy cleaning, painting, lowering ceilings and dividing spaces to serve their needs.