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Connections Chili Pottery Benefit Is Wed., December 2, 11am

Conover, NC - Every year, just in time for the holiday season, Connections holds a fundraiser which features homemade chili (choice of beef, chicken or veggie!!), cornbread and locally handmade pottery.  This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, December 2nd from 11:00– 1:30 at Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ in Conover (217 2nd Ave. NE, Conover, NC  28613).  Come enjoy a warm bowl of homemade chili and fixings, cornbread, dessert, a drink AND pick out your choice of a handmade piece of pottery for $15.  Additional pottery pieces (large bowls, vases, face jugs, holiday themed pieces etc.)  will also be available for sale.  

Last year, thanks to your support, we fed close to 400 people and raised approximately $12,000. Our annual fundraiser has become increasingly critical for our program during a time of economic uncertainty and changes in mental health services.

We offer a PREVIEW PARTY at the church on Tuesday night (12/1/15) from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. Admission price is $20 (which includes a complementary raffle ticket) to participate in an early buying opportunity.

We also offer a Connections Raffle. (Winners will be announced at the fundraiser.  However, you do not have to be present to win.)   1st prize:  face jug;  2nd prize:  Entertainment set (1 large bowl and 4 small bowls);  3rd prize:  Christmas set (Christmas tree, snowmen, goofy reindeer).  Ticket price:  $5. These prizes can be viewed on our Facebook page - cvbhconnections.

Tickets to the fundraiser, preview party, and raffle may be purchased in advance at Connections: 828-466-0030. Also, please check out our Facebook page – cvbhconnections for updates and pictures.

Founded in 1990, Connections is a psychosocial rehabilitation program of Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare that provides ongoing community supports for adults with mental illness.  Connections is located in Newton and provides services to 35-45 members daily.  Our program offers a work ordered day which focuses on skill development and the building of self confidence.  We assist participants with accessing employment, education, socialization, and greater independent living.  These supports offer opportunities and they offer hope.

Mental illness can be very disabling and can shatter lives.  BUT, with the help from our community, the Connections program is able to provide supports for members to rebuild and reclaim their lives.  Connections is a welcoming place where people are accepted and valued as individuals and not labeled by the stigmas associated with mental illness.  Members gain the confidence and skills necessary to lead fulfilling lives of THEIR choice in the community.

Habitat For Humanity Hosts It’s A Wonderful Life On Fri., Dec. 11

Hickory - Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley will be holding a special screening of the holiday classic "It's A Wonderful Life” on Friday, December 11th, at 6pm at Moretz Mills.

Food and drink, music, door prizes, raffles and trivia contests will be held throughout the evening. Wear your favorite "ugly" holiday sweater to add to the Christmas cheer. Your ticket enters you into a drawing for a Christmas Shopping Spree at the Habitat ReStore.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $45 at the door the night of the event. All proceeds go toward supporting the mission of Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley.

Get your tickets online today by going online to or at the Habitat ReStore or Habitat offices.

Moretz Mills is located at 74 8th Street, SE, Hickory, NC.

Hickory Music Factory’s Thanks-Giving Jam Benefit, Sat., Nov. 28

Hickory - The Hickory Music Factory's Thanks-Giving Jam will take place this year at the HMF facility (1515 12th St Dr NW, Hickory 28601) on Saturday November 28th from 8-11pm. This year’s jam will feature Tony Eltora, Rick Cline, Brock Pate, Alan Mearns, Bailey Tesh, Rick Hefner, Andrew Hernandez, E'Lon Jordan-Dunlap, Mark Hefner, and more.

This is a pot luck dinner event and everyone is encouraged to bring something to eat or drink to share with guests. There will be a suggested donation at the door of $5 (students) $10 (adults). This is a fundraiser for the Hickory Music Factory and helps to continue with their community music programs. We are only allowing 120 guests and the Jam has been a sell out in past years. 

To RSVP or for more info, contact 828-308-5659 or contact

Brock Pate is a 15 year-old singer/songwriter from Conover, North Carolina. With a musical background in classical violin, Pate picked up a guitar at 13, and through the guidance of the Hickory Music Factory, began performing regularly at Hickory's open mic night at Copperbean Coffee. These days, he can also be found performing at various venues throughout the city. Playing songs of diverse genres in a stripped down, acoustic setting, Pate presents a performance that is sure to have something for everyone.

Thanks-Giving Jam Line Up

Bailey Tesh is a 15 year-old singer/songwriter from Hickory, NC. Influenced by popular music, Bailey's songs are heartfelt with catchy hooks. She is a student of the Hickory Music Factory and you can see her performing at various venues around town and at church. Andrew Hernandez is the latest recipient of the Mark Weaver Scholarship. At the age of 7 years old, Andrew will amaze you with some classical and contemporary pieces.

As a native of Hickory NC, Rick Cline enjoys a wonderful musical career filled with numerous weekly performances and teaching both privately and at LRU and UNC  Charlotte. He is founder and director of the Piedmont Percussion Program, a program for kids ages 6-18 for 15 years. For his efforts in bringing the cultural arts to the community, he was the recipient of the City of Hickory's Community Service Award, and the Ukama Award from the African American Cultural Center of Hickory. Rick has performed with Jerry Lewis, Marie Osmond, The "Diamonds", Charlie Daniels and many more regional and national acts. He performs in several rock, swing and funk bands on a regular basis. 

Wayne Hefner is a Musician, Saxophonist, Flutist, Composer, Arranger and Recording Artist/Producer. He studied Saxophone, Flute and Jazz Improvisation/Composition at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington under the instruction of Dr Frank Bongiorno. While attending UNCW Rick was the Recipient of the Adcock Scholarship and numerous performance awards. Rick has had the good fortune of playing with many renowned artists including Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Taj Mahal and many more. He now lives in western North Carolina where he is a member of several professional Bands and offers private lessons.

Mark Hefner is a professional trumpet player and teacher with over 25 years experience. After being selected to attend Governors School of North Carolina as a sophomore in high school he continued his music education at Mars Hill College. Mark has performed in many musical settings including Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum House Band, Lou Vuto's A Tribute to Elvis Band, Lenoir Rhyne University Jazz Ensemble and The Hickory Jazz Orchestra. In addition to teaching private lessons, Mark was also the brass instructor at Tri-City Academy of Music and Arts for two years.

So, sometime in the early eighties, a team of Swiss scientists attempted to splice together the genes of Jimmy Page and Leonard Cohen....Ok, let's start again. Imagine that Paul Simon could play guitar like Julian Bream and fathered a child with Edith Piaf...sorry, that's just silly. Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, while rehearsing, were hit by a giant gamma ray that transformed them into a single, crooning guitar magician. Right! Chet Atkins and Jeff Buckley walk into a bar.... Suffice to say, Yes The Raven (AKA Alyn Mearns), possesses a singular sound that's difficult to describe yet impossible to forget.

Raised in Richmond VA, Tony Eltora grew up playing and performing at the age of twelve. Drawing from his vast love of all styles of music, Eltora's sound is a mix of blues and soul with hints of jazz and world music thrown in. Tony moved to Hickory NC in 1998 where he continued to teach private guitar instruction and performing in local and regional bands as well as woking on his solo material. He has shared the stage with many national and regional musicians including, Tim Reynolds, Sam Bush, Keller Williams, George Porter Jr, Oteil Burbridge, and Acoustic Syndicate, to name a few.ic Syndicate, to name a few.

E'Lon Bruce Jordan-Dunlap is a professional bassist born and raised on Long Island, New York. He now resides in the Foothills of North Carolina where he is know for his affiliation with several musical acts throughout the region. His years of experience have made him well versed in several genres including rock, jazz, funk, R&B, hip hop, soul, and blues. He has worked with several great musicians and artist and has toured nationally within past 5 years with his former original group Yaddatu. E'Lon is currently teaching lessons to beginner and intermediate students that are passionate and are looking to further their ability and knowledge in music.

Applications For Women2Work Workforce Program Available

Hickory - Practical help for unemployed or underemployed women is offered through the Women’s Resource Center’s Women2Work Workforce Development Program. The unique — and FREE — one-year program, designed to assist women in their job search, is now accepting applications.

“Women2Work is an advanced program that provides long-term support, resources, educational workshops and counseling,” says WRC Executive Director Cindy Rose. “The program is available to eligible unemployed or underemployed women in our communities and, since 2013, has successfully graduated eighteen women who have found secure employment. Currently 10 women are enrolled in the program, and we are currently seeking qualified applicants.”

Eligibility requirements include the ability to look for full-time work, a valid driver's license and reliable transportation, and the willingness to commit to a one-year program. Program participants must live in Catawba, Caldwell, Burke or Alexander counties and have no criminal record. For more information call Twila Hartford, Workforce Development Coordinator, at (828) 322-6333. Ext. 202.

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) offers assistance to women in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties through workforce development, advocacy, enrichment programs and community partnerships.

Watson Intelligence At HCT Has Only Three Shows Left, Thurs.-Sat.

HIckory - It’s the final weekend for “The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence” at the Hickory Community Theatre, with performances Thursday, Nov. 19th at 7:30pm and Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20th and 21st at 8:00pm.

Audiences have described the play as a both “incredibly funny” and “thought provoking” because of the way the scenes cross from the historical to the modern, incorporating variations of intelligence from fictional to historical to artificial. The play also blurs the lines between comedy and drama, combining intense confrontations with humorous situations.

Performances are Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm. The play is rated “R” for adult language and situations.

As an added bonus, there will be a drawing at every performance for a pair of tickets to the opening of “Star Wars – the Force Awakens” at the Carmike Theater on December 17th.

Tickets are $16 each and are available online at or at the Theatre box office. Box office hours are Wed-Sat from 12-5, in person, or by phone at 828-328-2283.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence” is the first play of this year’s Contemporary Series, produced by Robert Abbey, Inc. and Dr. George Clay, DDS. The 2015-16 Season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive.

Photo: Donovan Harper (left) as Watson and Silas Waugh as Merick in “The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence,” now on stage in the Firemen’s Kitchen at Hickory Community Theatre. Performances this weekend are Nov. 19-21. For tickets go to or call 828-328-2283. Photo is by Ken Burns Photography.

Cops For Tots! Donate By Thursday, December 10!

Hickory - Cops For Tots, the Hickory Department’s Wish House for 2015, serving children aged 12 and under, has announced the dates for their event. Gifts will be available on December 14-16 2015, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9:00am - 12 noon and 3:00pm - 6:00pm, at Winkler Park Activity Center (Beside Crawdad’s Stadium).

Please help make Christmas special for the youth in our community. The collection points for Cops for Tots are: Hickory Police Headquarters, 347 2nd Avenue SW; Davidson Holland Whitesell, 209 13th Ave PL NW, Suite 200; Foothills Gymnastics, 920 29th Ave NE; Hickory Martial Arts, 2063 Main Ave SE; Lou Lou’s, 202 Union Square; Scruples, 1132 Lenior Rhyne Blvd, SE and the UPS Store, 2425 N Center St.

The final collection date is December 10th, before the end of the day!

Call (828) 261-2691 for further information.

HSCC Is Looking For Homes For The Holidays

Newton, NC - Throughout November, Humane Society of Catawba County kittens will have a $50 adoption fee, or adopt 2 kittens for $75, with an approved adoption application.

And cats (6+ months) will have a $25 adoption fee with an approved adoption application (some exceptions apply).

Cat & kitten adoption fees include spay or neuter surgery, current vaccinations, microchip identification, deworming, FIV/Felv test, a free veterinary exam certificate and a friend for life.

Go by during business hours, at the Newton shelter: Monday - Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am – 3pm, 828-466-7171 and the Hickory shelter: Monday - Saturday from 11am to 6pm, 828-464-8878; or visit the website,, to see a listing of all available cats. Both shelters will be closed Nov. 26th- 29th for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Photo: Miss Kitty is available for adoption.

Disney’s Mary Poppins Opens Friday, Nov. 20, At Green Room

Newton, NC - Live on Stage - One of the most popular Disney movies of all time is capturing hearts in a whole new way: as a practically perfect musical! The Green Room is excited to bring this delightful Broadway adaptation to life for four big weekends beginning Friday, November 20, 2015.

Starring Carol Anne Hartman as Mary Poppins and David Hood in the role of Bert, the show features an energetic cast, a live orchestra, grand special effects, incredible costumes, and larger-than-life musical numbers.

Mary Poppins is produced by McCreary Modern. It is directed by John David Brown, III and David Townsend with musical direction by Cathy Banner and choreography by Sara Lane. Performance dates are November 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, December 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, & 13, 2015.

Friday and Saturday shows are at 8:00 pm and Sunday shows are at 3:00 pm.

Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (828) 464-6128 Wednesdays – Fridays from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm. The box office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but will be open normal hours on November 25 and 27. Ticket prices are $16 for Adults, $14 for Seniors (age 60+) and Students, and $8 for children age 12 and under. All ticket prices include NC sales tax. This show is rated G.

All performances are at the Old Post Office Playhouse, The Green Room’s home located at 10 South Main Avenue, Newton, NC 28658. 

The Green Room Community Theatre is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

Photo: Carol Anne Hartman as Mary Poppins
(photo by The Green Room)

Young Actors Nab Great Roles In The Music Man, Dec. 4, At HCT

Hickory - Some of the most charming and funny characters in the classic musical “The Music Man,” opening Friday, December 4th at the Hickory Community Theatre, are young people.

First there are the two youngest characters, Amaryllis (played by Angelina Prendergast) and Winthrop Paroo (played by Grant Sizemore), both of whom are connected to Marian the Librarian. Winthrop is Marian’s brother and Amaryllis is one of her piano students. Amaryllis has a crush on Winthrop but he is shy because of his lisp, which makes it hard to say her name. Prendergast has appeared numerous times at the Theatre, both in the plays of the RugBug Theatre for Children and in last season’s production of “The Wind in the Willows.” “The Music Man” is Sizemore’s debut role at the Theatre, but he has been in several productions at The Green Room, including “The Clockmaker’s Child” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

The two other major youth characters are Tommy Djilas, a young may from the wrong side of the tracks (played by Marcus Phillips) and Zaneeta Shinn, the Mayor’s daughter (played by Carolyn Oursler). The two teens have to keep their dating a secret because of Zaneeta’s father and Tommy’s penchant for playing pranks like setting off firecrackers during the opening ceremonies of the town’s annual 4th of July celebration. Con man Harold Hill encourages this secret relationship in order to distract the Mayor. Oursler has been in several productions at the Theatre, most recently as Pilar in “Legally Blonde” and as teenage Fiona in “Shrek.” Phillips made his debut at the Theatre as Pooh in “Winnie the Pooh” and was Gavroche in “Les Misérables.”

Performances of “The Music Man” are December 4th through 20th in the Jeffers Theatre; Fridays and Saturdays (December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19) at 8:00pm, Thursdays (Dec 10 and 17) at 7:30pm, and Sundays (Dec 13 and 20) at 2:30pm.

As an added bonus, there will be a drawing at the first six performances (Dec 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 and 13) for a pair of tickets to the opening of “Star Wars – the Force Awakens” at the Carmike Theater on December 17th.

Regular price tickets are $20, with $2 off for seniors and half price for students or youth 18 and under. Thursday is discounted, adult tickets are $14 and youth are $10. Tickets are available online at or at the box office, in person or by phone at (828) 328-2283.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “The Music Man” is produced by Catawba Valley Medical Center and VONDREHLE Corporation, and part of the 2015-16 season sponsored by Paramount Automotive.

PHOTO: The young supporting players in “The Music Man,” opening December 4th at the Hickory Community Theatre are Carolyn Oursler, Marcus Phillips, Angelina Prendergast and Grant Sizemore. go to or call (828) 328-2283 for information and tickets. Photo is by Thom Hutchens.

Catawba Co. Libraries’ Events Offer Support To Job Seekers

Newton, NC - Catawba County Library offers a great variety of resources and programs to empower job seekers--including career readiness programs, job skills development, and job searching and matching. Opportunities in November vary in time and location, and include one-on-one sessions with a professional career specialist with NCWorks, Specialized Job Fairs, and job skills classes.

Job Matching and Searching: NCWorks Specialist @ the Library

Main Library, Newton
Wednesdays 10 am – 2 pm

Jobseekers can have a powerful individual session with an NCWorks Specialist to search for and find jobs to match their skills and interests.

CNA Job Fair with Home Instead
Southwest Branch, Tuesday, November 17, 1-4 pm

A job fair especially for CNAs looking for new positions, with a Home Instead recruiter answering questions from attendees.

“How Should I Answer That?” Interviewing and Resume Tips
St. Stephens Branch, Wednesday, November 18 at 2 pm

Many wonder what to wear, how to act, what to do when preparing for an interview. This interactive workshop covers interview types, the process and preparation, interview questions, and a mock interview.

Looking for Work with a Criminal Record?
St. Stephens Branch, Wednesday, December 2 at 2pm

Looking for work can be challenging, especially for job seekers with a misdemeanor or felony. With this workshop, participants will learn how to emphasize strengths on resumes, applications, and interviews.

The Catawba County Library is offering these programs free of charge and all are welcome to attend. No reservations or registration necessary.

For more information and the latest in library news, visit or stop by your local branch.

HCT Presents Beloved Musical The Music Man, On Dec. 4-20

Hickory - The Hickory Community Theatre has just announced its cast for the classic musical, “The Music Man,” which opens on December 4th.

Christopher Honsaker and Emily Schuttenberg are taking on the leading roles of Harold Hill and Marian Paroo. In supporting roles are Steve Austin as Marcellus Washburn, Dorothy Best as Eulalie Shinn, Dan Greenfield as Mayor Shinn, Jill Grose as Mrs. Paroo, Carolyn Oursler as Zanita Shinn, Marcus Phillips as Tommy Djilas, Angelina Prendergast as Amaryllis and Grant Sizemore as Winthrop Paroo.

Rounding out the large ensemble cast are Diane Albers, Coleson Berlin, Tyler Cochrane, Blake Comby, Charlotte Dick, Gavin Dick, Isaac Gambrelli, Elizabeth Garmon, Donnie Goble, Grace Grant, Shirley Laws, Crystal Leigh, Tate Levin, Kailey Maines, Ella May, Logan McGowan, Ethan Porter, Matthew Thomas Reid, Jana Phylise Sales, Frederick Schuttenberg, Cecilia Marie Shoup, Emma Snyder, Emily Stober, Kenna Walton and Kathryn Whalen.

Performances are December 4th through 20th in the Jeffers Theatre; Fridays and Saturdays (December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19) at 8:00pm, Thursdays (Dec 10 and 17) at 7:30pm, and Sundays (Dec 13 and 20) at 2:30pm.

As an added bonus, there will be a drawing at first six performances for a pair of tickets to the opening of “Star Wars – the Force Awakens” at the Carmike Theater on December 17th.

Tickets are $20, with $2 off for seniors and half price for students or youth 18 and under. Thursday is discount night, with tickets at $14 for adults and $10 for youth/students. Tickets are available online at or at the box office, in person or by phone at (828) 328-2283.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “The Music Man” is produced by Catawba Valley Medical Center and VONDREHLE Corporation, and part of the 2015-16 season sponsored by Paramount Automotive.

Photo: Emily Schuttenberg and Christopher Honsaker are Marian Paroo and Harold Hill in “The Music Man”, opening December 4th at the Hickory Community Theatre. For tickets call (828) 328-2283 or go to

Arts Council Of Lincoln County’s Amateur Photography Contest

Lincolnton, NC - The Arts Council of Lincoln County is once again sponsoring its annual Amateur Photography Competition. Entries will be accepted 10am until 4pm Monday January 4 and Wednesday January 6th at the Lincoln Cultural Center, 403 East Main Street in Lincolnton. For additional arrangements, please call (704) 732-9044 or email The show will be on exhibit in the Carolina Mills and Cochrane Galleries of the Lincoln Cultural Center from January 11th through February 5th. There will be an opening reception and awards presentation for the artists and public on Friday evening, January 15, 2015 from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm.

This year we will offer a youth category in additional to our adult competition. Youths who wish to participate must have the written consent of a parent or guardian. Adults wishing to participate must be 18 years or older and engage in photography for pleasure and a hobby pursuit rather than for financial gain or professional reasons. All entrants must disclose whether they have a website or Facebook page featuring and selling their work. Entrants must not hold a photographer’s license or make their living at photography.

Photo entries should be original photographs that have not been reproduced for public sale and have not been exhibited in any Arts Council of Lincoln County events in the past. Manipulation of images, either film or digital, should be limited to general saturation changes using conventional darkroom techniques including contrast, exposure, basic sharpening, cropping, red eye removal and a minimum use of dodging and burning.

HDR photos (photos that are made from 3-7 photos combined), multiple exposures, digitally stitched photos, high dynamic range images and photos containing any manipulated, added content, the use of metallic paper in printing or altered utilizing software outside of the camera other than basics darkroom techniques described above must be entered in Special Effects category.

Adult entry fee is $20.00 for up to 3 photographs with a limit of 2 entry fees per participant. Categories for photographs are: plant life / landscapes, people, animal life, abstract / special effects, miscellaneous and black & white. All entries must be framed and ready to hang. No saw tooth hangers, hooks or desktop frames allowed. All frames must have wire hangers. All work must remain on exhibit until the end of the show. Youth entry fee is $15.00 for up to 3 photographs with a limit of 2 entry fees per participant. Youth entries will be limited to one category. And must adhere to the same standards listed above

Judging will focus on mood, impact, composition and quality. Adult awards are: $125 Best of Show, $25 1st place, $15 2nd place and $10 3rd place in each category. Youth awards are: $25 1st place, $15 2nd place and $10 3rd place. For information, contact the ACLC at (704) 732-9044 or

This project is supported in part by a grant provided through the North Carolina Arts Council.

Women’s Resource Center Seeks Items For Pantry

Hickory — The Women’s Resource Center’s personal products pantry, which provides personal and cleaning projects to women and families in the area who are struggling to meet basic needs is in critical need of supplies to replenish the pantry.

“We are asking for help in re-stocking our shelves,” said Executive Director Cindy Rose. Families receiving food assistance from the government cannot use their allotment for these products. We rely on the generosity of community members to keep the shelves stocked so that we can make the items available to women who meet the eligibility requirements.”

Products needed include laundry detergent, hand soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets, bathroom cleaner, window cleaner, disinfectant, mouthwash, body wash, bleach, dish detergent, and all purpose cleaner (409, etc.)

Donations can be dropped off at the Center at 125 3rd Street NE, Hickory, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. No donation is too small.

For additional information, visit the website at

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) offers assistance to women in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties through workforce development, advocacy, enrichment programs and community partnerships.

Seniors Morning Out In November Offers A Wide Variety Of Events

Hickory - Seniors age 60 or better throughout Catawba County are invited to participate in the many informative and fun activities of Seniors Morning Out. November activities include a jewelry-making class with local artisan Ellen Ball, and various Thanksgiving-themed activities.

Any senior living in Catawba County is invited to participate in these free activities at one of five convenient locations. A balanced, hot lunch is also provided. Bus transportation may be available for persons who do not drive. Please call the site supervisor and reserve your spot at least 48 hours ahead of time.

The programs operate Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. However, all sites will be closed Thursday, Nov. 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The jewelry making class with Ellen Ball is supported by a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Additional funding for this and other arts and sciences programs is provided by community individuals and businesses.

Some of the highlights of the month are as follows:

At the West Hickory SMO, located at the West Hickory Senior Center, 400 17th St. SW, Hickory: Nov. 10, Music by Sentimental Journey; Nov. 11: Worried about Your Memory? with Rik Covalinski of Home Instead; Nov 12, Making Turkey Pins with site supervisor; Nov. 24, Blood pressure checks and Let's talk about Turkey with Carolyn Thompson, RN. To reserve your spot, call site supervisor Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

At East Hickory SMO, located at Huntington Hills Church of God, 2123 Fifth St. NE, Hickory: Nov. 5, Jewelry Making with Ellen Ball; Nov. 10, Shop at Galaxy Foods, Dollar Tree and lunch at Taco Bell; Nov. 17, Singing and Laughing with the Clontz Family; Nov. 18, Cooking Class with Margie Beard, Gobbler Cookies; Nov. 24, Nutritional Facts About Turkey: Baked vs. Deep Fried. To reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

At Newton SMO, located at First Presbyterian Church, 701 N. Main St., Newton: Nov. 5, Gospel Singing with Damascus Road; Nov. 10, Learn to make lapel pins with Ellen Ball; Nov. 11, Experience Hmong New Year. Learn about Ceremonial costumes, dance and food; Nov. 17, Waltz Down Memory Lane with Sentimental Journey; Nov. 18, Making Mini Pumpkin Pies; Nov. 23, Things you May Not Know About Medicare Advantage Plans by Renee Smith, independent licensed insurance agent. To reserve your spot, contact Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

At Catawba SMO, located at Center United Methodist Church, 4945 Sherrills Ford Road, Catawba: Nov. 11, Fire Safety BINGO with Ray Ball, Claremont Fire Department; Nov. 12, Fall Prevention with Jackie Saunders of Bayada Home Health; Nov. 17, Jewelry Making with Ellen Ball; Nov. 18: Diabetic Eye Diseases and Prevention with Tracey Paul, Catawba County Public Health; Nov. 19, Fall Fun: Corn hole, horseshoes, birdie toss, Thanksgiving craft and making apple dumplings. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

At Maiden SMO, located at the Maiden Community Center, East Second Street and Klutz Street in Maiden: Nov. 9, Recognition of veterans and update on veterans benefits with Cindy Travis of the Veterans Office; Nov. 16, Proper Nutrition as We Age with Dana Plummer, dietician; Nov. 18, Making Pumpkin Parfaits; Nov. 24, Music with Sentimental Journey. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

Senior Nutrition Services also operates Meals on Wheels and related programs in the county. Volunteers are urgently needed to deliver Meals on Wheels. For more information, contact Senior Nutrition Services at 828-695-5610 during regular business hours, or visit the website at For the latest updates, like the program on Facebook at

Museum Offers Art Classes For Grades K-6

Hickory – Create with clay, paint fall landscapes, make leaf prints, holiday ornaments and more during art classes for youth in grades K-6 at Hickory Museum of Art (HMA), 243 Third Ave. NE, Hickory.

Create handmade ornaments for giving or keeping during two Holiday Ornament Workshops: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7 (K-1st) and 3:30 – 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8 (2nd – 6th). Participants will use a variety of materials and designs to create holiday accents for the home.

Cost for the K-1st holiday ornament workshop is $14 for HMA members and $20 for nonmembers. Cost for the 2nd-6th grade holiday ornament workshop is $22 for HMA members and $28 for nonmembers. Call 828-327-8576 to register.

Hickory Museum of Art is located on the SALT Block, 243 Third Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information on these and other art classes for youth, teens and adults, visit or call 828-327-8576.

Lenoir-Rhyne University Announces Terrific

Visiting Writers Series Roster For 2015-16

Hickory – Lenoir-Rhyne University will kick off its 2015-16 Visiting Writers Series in September. Jaki Shelton Green will be the first of eight guests featured in the series, which has brought world-renowned authors to members of the LRU campus and the community for nearly three decades. The award winning poet is scheduled to speak on Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. in Belk Centrum. Green and the other authors featured in the series will be joining LRU as it celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Inducted in 2014 into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Green has appeared in numerous national poetry publications and her work has been widely choreographed by numerous dance companies. She is the author of Breath of the Song: New and Selected Poems (2005); singing a tree into dance (2003); Conjure Blues (1996); Swiss Time (1990); Dead on Arrival (1983); and Mask (1981). She is also the co-editor of two anthologies: Poets or Peace and Immigration, Emigration, and Diversity.

In 2003, Green received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the highest award the state can bestow for significant contributions in science, literature, fine arts, and public service. She is also a 2014 Pushcart nominee; the 2010 Fine Arts Emerald awardee; the 2009 North Carolina Piedmont Laureate; and the 2007 Sam Ragan awardee. As a community arts advocate, Green creates and facilitates programs that serve diverse audiences and populations. She is the owner of SistaWRITE, which provides retreats and travel excursions for women writers.

In its 27th season, LR’s Visiting Writers Series will continue with the following writers:

Garrison Keillor – Thursday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. in P.E. Monroe Auditorium
Keillor is an author, poet, storyteller, humorist and radio personality. He is well-known as the host of A Prairie Home Companion, a public radio variety show which debuted in 1974. A National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and winner of the Peabody Award and National Humanities Medal, his latest works include The Keillor Reader (2014), a collection of his work, and O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic and Profound (2013), a volume of poetry.

Anne Lamott - Thursday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. in P.E. Monroe Auditorium
Lamott is the bestselling author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life; Operating Instructions (an account of life as a single mother); and Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. She is a Guggenheim Fellowship awardee and California Hall of Fame inductee who has taught at UC Davis and at writing conferences across the country. Her biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted Best of the Web by TIME magazine.

Paul Muldoon – Thursday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Grace Chapel
Muldoon - LRU’s very first visiting writer - was born in 1951 in Northern Ireland. Since 1987, he has lived in the US and has worked as a professor at Princeton University and as Founding Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. Between 1999 and 2004, he also served as Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. Since 2007, he has served as poetry editor of The New Yorker. In addition to the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, he has won numerous awards including the International Griffin Prize, American Ireland Fund Literary Award, Shakespeare Prize as well as both the Aspen and the European Prize for Poetry.

Will Osborne & Mary Pope Osborne – April 23 at noon in P.E. Monroe Auditorium
This year’s Little Read event boasts two authors: Will and Mary Pope Osborne. Will Osborne is a respected playwright, book author, director, teacher, and actor. His play Smoke & Mirrors has been produced internationally. He has authored more than a dozen books for children and young adults - many co-written with his wife. Mary Pope Osborne received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her highly successful Magic Tree House series. She has published nearly 50 books in the series, which has been translated into over 30 languages and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. As part of The Little Read event, the musical A Night in New Orleans will be presented. The musical was co-written by Will Osborne and is based on the Magic Tree House series.

Sponsors of this year’s Visiting Writers Series include Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Crowne Plaza--Hickory, Hickory Public Library, National Endowment for the Arts, North Carolina Arts Council, Our State: North Carolina, United Arts Council of Catawba County, and WFAE 90.3 FM.

All events are open to the public and free for all guests. No tickets or reservations are required. Visit for more information.

About Lenoir-Rhyne University:
Lenoir-Rhyne University was founded in 1891 and is a private, coeducational university with its primary campus in Hickory, NC. Academic programs include more than 50 undergraduate majors and 24 graduate programs, the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, NC, the Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia, SC, and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, also in Columbia. Today, more than 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled across all three campuses. Lenoir-Rhyne is affiliated with the NC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. The website is

Hickory Cribbage Club Invites New Players, Tuesdays, 6:15 PM

Hickory - Hickory Cribbage Club “The CRIBBADIERS” is inviting new players to join our weekly tournaments of friendly competition. The club plays at 6:15 p.m. each Tuesday at Unitarian Universalist Church located at 833 5th St. SE Hickory, NC 2860. Members are willing to teach the game to newcomers or to help former players get back into the swing. Contact: Zig (828) 324-8613 or

Caregiver Support Program Offers Local Families A Break

Hickory - Caring for an older member of the family, who is ill, can be very rewarding and challenging. Karen Harshman willingly cared for her father John Godfrey during his illness and more so after he had to have surgery. During the time Karen cared for her father, she continued to work and raise her young daughter. Karen was glad to care for her father but found that she needed extra help. She was able to receive help from Health and Home Services of Catawba County through the Family Caregiver Support Program respite grant. Karen states, “The respite program benefited me by allowing me to maintain my employment and not have to take a leave of absence from work. It provided high-quality care for my father in his home, as opposed to putting him in a skilled nursing facility.”

Family members are the major provider of long-term care in the United States, with over 65 million individuals providing care to an older adult. Many caregivers have to remain in their jobs while being caregivers for family members. The responsibilities of caring for a loved one can often leave a caregiver inattentive to their personal health or leave little time for a break from their daily responsibilities. Taking a break from caregiving and focusing on their personal needs often renews the caregiver, allowing them to cope better and continue providing care for their loved one and their responsibilities.

While caregiving can be very rewarding, it can also have an emotional, physical and financial toll on the caregiver. When the stress of caregiving begins to have an impact on the caregiver's health and mental well-being, it is time to seek help and support. The Family Caregiver Support Program is a Federal and state program from the federal Older Americans Act that provides supportive services for those considered caregivers. Program services are available to adult family members who are caregivers for a person age 60 or older and priority given to caregivers providing care and support to persons with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and/or to individuals with disabilities.

Melody Beaty, RN, BSN, Agency Director for Health & Home Services administers a respite program in our area which provides much-needed breaks for caregivers who are caring for a family member. As Melody explains, “Every day hundreds of people are providing care to a loved one in our community. For most they do not even recognize themselves as caregivers. This labor of love can be stressful and overwhelming at times.”

The Family Caregiver Support Program serves Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba County caregivers and services are available to assist caregivers on their journey. It is important for caregivers to take a break or take some time for themselves during the time they are dedicating to caring for a loved one. If you are caring for someone and feel you need assistance or if you know someone who is a caregiver and could use a much-needed break, contact the following organization in your county:

·Alexander County – HomeCare Management Corporation, 315 Wilkesboro Blvd. NE, Lenoir NC 28645. Phone – (828) 754-3665

·Burke County – Handi-Care, Inc., 304 South Main Street, Drexel, NC 28619. Phone: (828) 437-8429

·Caldwell County – HomeCare Management Corporation, 315 Wilkesboro Blvd. NE, Lenoir, NC 28645. Phone – (828) 754-3665

·Catawba County - Health and Home Services, Inc., 910 Hwy 321 NW, Suite 150, Hickory, NC 28601 or by phone at (828) 322-2710.

Photo: Left to right: Jennifer Godfrey, John Godfrey and Karen Harshman

Humane Society Seeks Foster Parents For Special Animals

Hickory/Newton, NC - Humane Society of Catawba County is looking for people interested in fostering homeless animals.

Fostering is often necessary when animals need a little more time and TLC prior to adoption; for example, mothers with nursing litters, orphaned litters, and shy animals that need extra socializing.

HSCC also has a growing need for short-term foster care, sometimes just a couple of weeks, for healthy dogs awaiting transport to another rescue.

HSCC will provide everything you need; the foster family will only need to bring the animal to the shelter occasionally for medical check-ups or for their transport date.

The time commitment and selected animal(s) are entirely based on what is convenient for the foster family.

Family Guidance Center Offers Support, Insight On Verbal Abuse

Hickory - The mission of Family Guidance Center’s First Step Domestic Violence Program is to provide needed services to victims of domestic violence and to increase the community’s awareness of the problem.

Verbal abuse is a type of abuse that can leave deep wounds. There are no bruises or marks on your body, but verbal abuse pierces you to the core—it is the Hidden Hurt of domestic violence. Some forms of verbal abuse are obvious, such as name calling or sneering, but many more forms are less obvious and not as easy to recognize. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are being verbally abused:

Does your partner speak to you differently in private and in public?

Do you often leave a discussion with your partner feeling completely confused?

Does your partner deny being angry or upset when he/she very obviously is?

Does your partner act as though you were attacking them when you try to explain your feelings?

Does your partner discount your opinions or experiences?

You feel as though no matter how hard you try, you just don’t seem to be able to communicate your thoughts and feelings to your partner as he/she always seems to misunderstand you and/or it always seems to cause an argument no matter how you try to approach the subject?

Do you feel nervous or avoid discussing issues which disturb you with your partner because you ‘know’ that trying to discuss them will just leave you feeling even more upset?

Do you feel as though your self-esteem and your self-confidence have decreased?

Do you find yourself spending a lot of time working out either how not to upset your partner or wondering what you did or said which did upset your partner?

Facts which generally apply to verbal abuse:

Verbal abuse tends to be secretive.

Verbal abuse tends to increase over time.

Verbal abuse discounts your perception of reality and denies itself.

Verbal abuse is usually a part of a pattern which is difficult to recognize and it leaves us with a feeling of confusion and upset without really understanding why.

Verbal abuse uses words (or silence) to gain and maintain control.

From time to time, we may all be guilty of saying something which is nasty or abusive to our partner. But when we realize that what we said was hurtful, we regret it and apologize to our partner. Verbal abusers; however, are not likely to apologize. They are not sorry for what they said because hurting you was their intent!

Contact The Family Guidance Center at 828-322-1400. Located at #17 Hwy. 70 SE, Hickory, NC, 28602.

Women’s Resource Center Needs Daily Volunteers

Hickory-Women’s Resource Center is seeking women volunteers who have a passion for giving back to their community and supporting women who are undergoing life-changing transitions.

We need support during our regular daily business hours. WRC Business Hours are 9:00am—4:00pm,Monday through Thursday.

Women’s Resource Center empowers women through Workforce Development, Advocacy, Enrichment Programs, and Community Partnerships.

If interested, please contact Cindy Rose, Executive Director at 828-322-6333 or email

Social Workers Partner With Lions Clubs To Help The Blind

According to The World Health Organization, 153 million people have uncorrected refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism). Most of these vision impairments are quickly diagnosed and easy to treat with corrective lenses. For children, clear vision means a better education, healthier development and a better quality of life. For adults, it means greater employment opportunity and economic strength. For seniors it means less dependence on others.

Unfortunately, due to the current economic situation, many people are forgoing scheduling annual eye examinations and purchasing new eyeglasses. That's why County Social Worker's with NC Division of Services For The Blind have established a partnerships with their Lions Clubs in the county to refer children and adults who need financial assistance in securing an eye examination and purchasing eyeglasses who meet their local Lions Club eligibility guidelines.

If Alexander, Burke, Caldwell,Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford County residents needing assistance with eyeglasses and eye examinations should contact these County Social Workers For The Blind with NC Division of Services For The Blind listed below , then they will forward their names and contact information to a Lions Club in their county:

Alexander & Caldwell County Social Worker For The Blind
1. Gary Smith
604 7th Street, SW
2345 Morganton Boulevard, Suite A, Taylorsville, NC 28681 Lenoir, North Carolina 28645
Telephone: (828) 632-1080 Telephone: 828-426-8316

Burke & McDowell County Social Worker For The Blind
2. Sandy Freeman
700 E. Parker Road
207 East Court Street
Morganton, NC 28680 Marion, NC 29752
Telephone: (828) 764-9704 Telephone: 828-659-0844

Catawba Social Worker
for the Blind
3. Greg Morgan
PO Box 669
Newton, NC 28658

Cleveland County Social
Worker For The Blind
4. Lucy Plyer
130 South Post Road
Shelby, North Carolina 28150
Telephone: 704-487-0661 ext. 317;

Gaston Social Worker
for the Blind
5. Charity Patterson
330 N. Marietta Street
Gastonia, NC 28052
Telephone: (704) 862-7622

Iredell & Lincoln County
Social Worker for the Blind
6. Tammy Loukos
549 Eastside Drive
1136 East Main Street
Statesville, NC 28687
Lincolnton, N.C. 28092
Telephone: (704) 924-4111 Telephone: 704-732-9024

Polk & Rutherford County
Social Worker For The Blind
7. Marian Corn
231 Wolverine Trail
389 Fairground Road
Mill Spring, NC 28756 Spindale, NC 28160
Telephone: (828) 894-2100 Telephone: 828-287-1241

To secure names, and contact information of other NC County Social Worker’s For The Blind not listed, please check out the NC Division of Services For The Blind website @

Child Wellbeing Project Offers Post Adoption Support

Hickory - The Child Wellbeing Project is expanding to assist adoptive families in an eight-county region of North Carolina.

The program uses the Success Coach model of post-adoption services. Thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources, this service is now being made available to any family who has adopted and is currently living in one of the following counties: Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Watauga and Wilkes.

Children who have been adopted often struggle with their identity and may have trouble fitting into their new family or adjusting to a new school. Post Adoption Success Coach Services assign a Success Coach to these families, allowing them to receive additional help and support. This assistance is free for the adoptive family.

"We realize that many children who have been adopted continue to have struggles long after the adoption is finalized," said Chrissy Triplett, post adoption care supervisor.

"Success Coaches can work with adoptive families to provide helpful information and coaching in how to deal with these issues."

The Success Coach model has been used successfully with a limited number of families in Catawba County. It is now being offered to any family who has adopted in the eight-county region. International adoptions and adoptions through private agencies are included, as well as adoptions arranged by county Departments of Social Services.

The Child Wellbeing Project will work with several private therapy providers to offer Success Coach services. For more information about Success Coach Post Adoption Services, go to or call 828-695-4428. The Child Wellbeing Project and Success Coach Post-Adoption Services are a service of Catawba County Social Services.

Hickory’s Angel of Hope House Requests Help

Hickory - Angel of Hope House Inc. is a faith based not-for-profit organization that houses women ages 18 and over; who are motivated to recover from alcohol and/or drug abuse. It is a safe stable environment that practices a program of recovery to work and teach women to be independent and successful members of society. Angel of Hope is a spiritually based facility with diverse group of women; however, we all have the same goal: a happy and sober life.

Angel of Hope has partnered with Vision Outreach Ministries in Conover to help with their Homeless Program. Angel of hope helps with the feeding and clothing. Through this we are teaching the ladies humbleness and to give back what was so freely given to them.

Items Needed:

- contributions for utilities
- refrigerator
- deep freezer
- more dependable vehicle
- toiletries
- household cleaning supplies
- office supplies
- pantry items: coffee, sugar, creamer, beans, rice, peanut butter, jelly
- feminine products
- toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags
- sanitizing items: Lysol spray, Bleach, Clorox Wipes
- gas cards
- notebooks, pens, pencils, for step study work
- paper, pens, envelopes, stamps for writing letters to family and children

To make contributions. donations, or any further information please contact: Joyce Crouse (Asst. Director): (828)- 315- 0352 or Kelly Cook (Resident Manager): (828) 322-6211.

Volunteers Needed To Deliver Meals On Wheels

Claremont, NC - There is an urgent need for volunteers to deliver meals to homebound senior citizens in the Claremont-Catawba area of Catawba County.

Volunteers pick up the meals at Bethlehem United Methodist Church-Claremont between 10:50 and 11:15 am Monday through Thursday. You can volunteer as little as one hour a month and make a difference in the life of a senior citizen.

Volunteers are also needed to deliver meals in the East Hickory, West Hickory, Maiden and Newton areas. For details about how you can help, contact Vickie Redden, volunteer coordinator of Catawba County Meals on Wheels, at 695-5610.

For more information about these programs, and how you can help, go to or find the Meals on Wheels of Catawba County program on Facebook at!/MealsOnWheelsOfCatawbaCounty.

How To Get Your Event In Focus

Email a press release for your non-profit event, fundraiser, festival or other community event to Please include your contact information along with the name of your event, who it benefits, what it features, when the event will take place, and the cost of attending. Please send a text document, not a pdf or jpeg of text information.

Also, please put the name of the event in the subject line of your email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Health-Care Pro Discusses The Many Warning

Signs And How To Spot A Victim Of Domestic Violence

In the United States, women are assaulted or beaten once every nine seconds; worldwide, one in three women have been battered, raped or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to women’s advocacy organizations.

“That means most of us – while grocery shopping, at work or at home – come across several women a day who have either been abused, or are currently enduring abuse,” says Linda O’Dochartaigh, a health professional and author of Peregrine ( “It’s a terrible fact of life for too many women, but if there is something we can do about it and we care about fellow human beings, then we must try.”

There are several abuse resources available to women who are being abused, or friends of women who need advice, including:, National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 1-800-799-SAFE (7223), provides unbiased, advertising-free mental health information to give people the self-help options to help people understand, prevent, and resolve life’s challenges, allows women to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender is released, transferred, or escapes, 1-888-7HELPLINE, offers crisis intervention and support services for victims of intimate partner violence and their families

Perhaps the best thing friends and family can do for a woman enduring domestic abuse is to be there for her – not only as a sympathetic ear, but also as a source of common sense that encourages her to take protective measures, O’Dochartaigh says. Before that, however, loved ones need to recognize that help is needed.

Linda O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

• Clothing – Take notice of a change in clothing style or unusual fashion choices that would allow marks or bruises to be easily hidden. For instance, someone who wears long sleeves even in the dog days of summer may be trying to hide signs of abuse.

• Constant phone calls – Many abusers are very controlling and suspicious, so they will call their victims multiple times each day to “check in.” This is a subtle way of manipulating their victims, to make them fearful of uttering a stray word that might alert someone that something is wrong. Many abusers are also jealous, and suspect their partner is cheating on them, and the constant calls are a way of making sure they aren’t with anyone they aren’t supposed to be around.

• Unaccountable injuries – Sometimes, obvious injuries such as arm bruises or black eyes are a way to show outward domination over the victim. Other times, abusers harm areas of the body that won’t be seen by family, friends and coworkers.

• Frequent absences – Often missing work or school and other last-minute plan changes may be a woman hiding abuse, especially if she is otherwise reliable.

• Excessive guilt & culpability – Taking the blame for things that go wrong, even though she was clearly not the person responsible – or she is overly-emotional for her involvement – is a red flag.

• Fear of conflict – Being brow-beaten or physically beaten takes a heavy psychological toll, and anxiety bleeds into other relationships.

• Chronic uncertainty – Abusers often dominate every phase of a victim’s life, including what she thinks she likes, so making basic decisions can prove challenging.

Linda O’Dochartaigh has worked in health care is an advocate for victims of child abuse and domestic violence. She wants survivors to know that an enriched, stable and happy life is available to them. O’Dochartaigh is the mother of three grown children and is raising four adopted grandchildren.

Family Finders Helps Foster Kids Connect With Extended Family

Hickory - “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” wrote poet Robert Frost.

But many foster children and youths have lost that type of family support system. Sid Daniels, who works with the Family Finding Program in Catawba County, will tell you that foster children are often very lonely because they have lost contact with their extended family. The longer they are in foster care, the more likely this is to happen. It’s his job to change that reality.

“We don’t want a kid feeling lonely — where the only people in their life are the ones that get paid to be there,” he said. Staff members go home at the end of their shift. Family members can form a lifelong bond. The Family Finding Program in Catawba County is a partnership between the Children's Home Society of North Carolina and Catawba County Social Services. Family Finders is a national program, developed by Kevin Campbell, that has shown strong results in many states.

Daniels' job as a Family Finder is part detective, part negotiator and part counselor. He first has to identify and contact family members who have lost their connection to the foster child. These could include grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, as well as parents and step-parents.

After he identifies these relatives, he tries to gauge their interest in reconnecting with the child in foster care. If they express an interest, he invites them to a couple of meetings. At the first one, he shows them a “video journal” of the young person talking about themselves and what they want in life. They discuss how the relatives may play a role in the child’s future.

Sid Daniels

In some cases, the relatives want to resume the relationship they had before, such as talking with the child on the phone, writing them letters, or visiting with them. In other cases, they might be willing to adopt the child if they cannot be reunited with their parents.
Then the process moves to planning how the relationship might be resumed. If a relative wishes to adopt or become the guardian of the child, he or she must undergo an evaluation process.

It is important to wrap the child in a network of family supporters who are willing to assist them, Daniels said. The goal is to find as many relatives as possible who are willing to participate in the process. Catawba County was one of the first counties in North Carolina to pilot Family Finding, beginning in 2008. Now it has fully embraced the model.

Daniels joined the team last fall. The process can be time consuming, but it is usually completed in three to five months, he said. “The ownership is on the family,” he said. “What do they want to do?”

Catawba County Social Services hopes that reuniting foster children with their relatives can produce a brighter future. Foster children usually age out of care at 18, although they can remain voluntarily until they are 21.

National statistics show that former foster care youths face some daunting prospects if they don’t have a support system in place. Some 49 percent are homeless within three years. Forty-three percent are high school drop outs. Fifty-six percent become unemployed within two years. Forty-two percent, of whom 60 percent are women, become parents within 2.5 years of exiting foster care.

Former foster youth are found to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at two times the level of U.S. war veterans. Fifty percent have used illegal drugs. One in four will be incarcerated within 2.5 years of leaving foster care.

Daniels believes his work can help change those statistics for local youths. That’s why he keeps on calling, emailing, sending Facebook messages, knocking on doors and meeting with family members of children and youths in foster care. He sees his job as finding “who’s going to love this kid no matter what.”

For more information, call 828-695-5600 or visit our website at
Or contact Sean Jarman at 828-695-2134 or

Loving Our Enemies

By Rev. Susan Smith

Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

A week ago, my son woke me up to tell me Osama Bin Laden was dead. I got up and listened to president Obama tell the nation that our terrorist enemy had been killed by a special forces Navy Seals team. I felt sad. Sad for the pain and misery he has caused all over the world. Sad for the victims of 9/11. Sad that a shy, deeply devoted Muslim boy could grow into a mass murderer of innocent people in the name of holy jihad. I went back to bed, not realizing that people were dancing in the streets to celebrate that Bin Laden was dead.

I have heard many say since that justice was done. Really? The definition of justice in this sense is “the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” As a person of faith against the death penalty, I do not see this as “justice”. Killing people who kill people to prove that killing people is wrong is not justice. It might help us feel that we have gotten the revenge we want for his horrific acts, but the Bible tells us that vengeance belongs to God.

If we dance in the streets to celebrate the fact that we shot an unarmed man in the head in front of his wife – are we any better than all those who burn the American flag, hang effigies of our president, and chant “Death to America”? God is the only one who can see all the pain caused by war in humanity as a whole. The causes and effects of global, generational hatred and bitterness stemming from the murder of civilians in the crossfire of war has poisoned international relations to the point where it is almost impossible for any country to claim innocence. We have all been murderers.

No, I would not call killing Bin Laden justice, but I would say that it was necessary to prevent the murder of more innocent people. We hope that his death will decrease worldwide terrorism, but only time will tell. Instead of dancing in the streets, we should have been praying that God would help us love our enemies. We should have been praying for his soul, his family, his people, and all those in the Muslim world who looked to him as a hero. They are truly our enemies because they have declared a holy war against us. His death will not end that. Loving our enemies is the hardest thing Jesus commanded us to do, and 2000 years later we have still not learned how to do it. Consider the words of the sermon “Finding Forgiveness” delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on Christmas of 1957:

“Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

"So when Jesus says 'Love your enemies,' he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil-hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

For the complete text of this incredibly Christ-like message, go to:

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