Stone United Methodist Church
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Creating a Community of Caring Christians

Fairview/Fairmont Outreach

Fairview/Fairmont Outreach






                The year 2018 was perhaps a watershed year for the Outreach Program at Fairview/Fairmont.  When the year began, the Board could not have anticipated that Diane Craven would no longer be employed, that Amy Learn would accept a full-time position as a teaching assistant in a program for behaviorally challenged students, that the Outreach Center would be closed for three months, and that the Board itself would meet every two weeks during that time to re-evaluate the entire program and hammer out a new vision for it.


                For over 40 years, the Outreach Program has hummed along in a fairly predictable manner.  Demographically, about 50% of the residents at Fairview/Fairmont are under the age of 18, a statistic that has remained fairly constant.  The majority of families are headed by single moms.  About a third of the adult residents are employed but are considered part of the “working poor.” And there are senior citizens living at Fairview/Fairmont, although their numbers have slightly decreased.  The Outreach Center is there to help meet the needs of all these various people.   Children are provided with an after-school program of snacks and activities.  Senior citizens can sign up for the senior food bank and receive additional food.  Young mothers can stop by for diapers when money is tight.  All age groups can use the computer lab and several people have found employment via applying for work on-line.  Adults and children can go on field trips to the Erie Zoo or the Wildlife Refuge or to the MARC for swimming.


                It is often said that challenging situations can be seen as obstacles or opportunities.   The Outreach Board decided that this time of challenge was an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-focus our mission before we started to look for new staff to do this.   The Board considered what it means to be a trauma-informed community, that building resiliency is a goal for working with persons in trauma-informed communities, and that a primary focus of our program should revolve around helping maintain family stability.


                Goals and Objectives which had been developed over the years were put aside in favor of developing a limited number of priorities focused on building resiliency and maintaining family stability. 

Thus, the Board developed three major priorities:


1)  maintain the after-school program - provide a healthy snack, support academics but not make the after-school program an extension of school, provide opportunities for adults to read to children, involve other agencies in presenting programs, provide life skills activities such as cooking, fun math projects, Bible knowledge and an understanding of Christian concepts, recreational activities, and times to focus on the needs of specific age groups instead of the wide range of children in grades K-6;

2) create experiences for residents – go on field trips, go for hikes, participate in service projects, help residents expand their horizons;

3) maintain communication with both sponsoring churches and with community agencies. 


                With these thoughts in mind, the Board set out to hire new staff and began with hiring Sarah Miller as Outreach Director.   Sarah brings a love of the Lord, abundant enthusiasm, and understanding and compassion of others to the Outreach Program.  Her experience with persons living in less-than-optimal situations provides a good foundation for supporting families living at Fairview/Fairmont.   Currently we are still seeking an Assistant Director but have the services of Kate Glunt, our Summer Intern, as Interim Assistant.   We will be partnering again with the Allegheny College Bonner Program which provides student assistants to community agencies.  


                Finally, I wish to acknowledge the Board members of both churches who gave unstintingly of their time over the summer to come to meetings and hash out just what it is the Outreach Program should be doing.   The Board is firmly committed to the Outreach Program as a mission of the churches founded by people of faith and directed by the love and grace of God.    We also discovered that after 40 years of non-stop activity, that the Outreach Center had accumulated an abundance of all types of craft supplies, books, old VHS tapes, outdated TV equipment, holiday decorations, old sports equipment, and more.  We cleaned out rooms and Sarah cleaned out more!  The area is better organized with newer furniture and better use of storage space.  It feels fresh and new.  The United Housing Corporation has generously agreed to provide new flooring for some of the rooms and an electrical upgrade for the office and computer lab has begun.   We also discovered that the Outreach Program was missed.  Residents wondered when the doors would be open and the program would be operational again.  Children missed coming after school and everyone, it seemed, missed the mission in their midst.


                Jesus often went away by himself to pray.  For a mission such as Fairview/Fairmont Outreach, sometimes it’s necessary to close the door, pray, and deliberate on how to best serve those whom Jesus calls us to serve.  The door is back open now and the Outreach Program is ready to be of service again.

Praise the Lord!




Respectfully submitted,

Christine Lafferty, Moderator

Fairview/Fairmont Outreach Board


 Board Members During 2018: 


First Presbyterian – Tom Barratt, Ross Feltz, Vickie Fischer, Brian Jensen, Chuck Jones, Becky Jordan, Chris Lafferty, Logan Luce, Marty Malone.

Stone United Methodist – Barb Baker, Jeff Loutzenhiser, Sarah Roncolato, Darlene Ross, Eileen Shields,  Jim Turnbull.



Diane Craven – Director – January through July

Sarah Miller – Director – beginning November

Amy Learn – Assistant Director – January through July


Summer Intern, 2018, and Interim Assistant Director, beginning in December:

Kate Glunt





Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.      Matthew 6:8 (NIV) 

God’s Promise:

It’s not that He doesn’t know --- He just wants the pleasure of your company.




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