| Dec 04, 2008

Dec 4/08 - Sisters By Heart

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Feature Article - December 4, 2008 “Sisters by Heart” focuses on single momsBy Julie Druker

Guest speakers Stephanie Dowdall and Sharon Nault of Teen MOPS and Sisters by Heart chair Evelyn Snider

Sisters by Heart, a local community-based women’s group with six committee members that is run out of the Verona Free Methodist Church, is in its 5th year of service.

The group was started up by its chair, Evelyn Snider, who was inspired by the former VFM Church pastor and his wife, David and Linda Rigby. The Rigbys had started a similar group at a church in Florida.

The Verona Sisters group regularly puts on four events each year at VFMC to support women and various women’s services in and around the community.

Their most recent event, “Candy Cane Christmas” was held Monday night and it focused on supporting single moms in the community.

The $5 admission charge plus goodwill offerings were put towards creating 50 gift baskets made up of household and winter essentials like shampoo, laundry and dish detergent, soap and lotions, colouring books, crayons and winter hats and mitts.

Ladies from the Pentecostal Church in Verona donated hand-made mittens and scarves. The baskets will be distributed by Rural VISIONS to single mothers in the community.

The evening’s guest speaker was Sharon Nault, wife of VFMC pastor Jeffrey Nault. Sharon works with teen mothers at Teen Mothers of Preschoolers (Teen MOPS) in Smith Falls.

The evening began with an icebreaker, then a Christmas carol sing-along led by Merlene and Rhonda Spurrell. After that the Sisters set to work, loading up and wrapping the 50 gift baskets.

Close to 100 guests filled the beautifully decorated church hall. Ticket sales are the only revenue that the group has to work with and luckily the quarterly events are always well attended.

Towards the end of the evening, Sharon Nault spoke about her work with Teen MOPs. The program is sponsored by the Free Methodist Church in Smiths Falls and is the only one in Canada, though there are 4000 MOPS groups world-wide and 100 groups in the U.S.

Currently 15 teen mothers are registered in the Smiths Falls program, which offers young mothers opportunities to meet, learn, and to receive support.

Stephanie Dowdall, a graduate of the Teen MOPS program who is now one of the program’s co-ordinators, also spoke at the event. Her involvement with Teen MOPS began when she was a young teenager expecting the first of her 2 children.

She recalled her initial hesitation to join the program, which quickly disappeared as she began to feel accepted. She benefited from the program for 5 years and was supported through the births of her two children.

She was greatly inspired by the committee members, alongside whom she now works.

An obvious passion both for Sharon and Stephanie, the two were very happy to see “Sisters by Heart” making efforts to support single mothers in the community.

Anyone interested in joining “Sisters by Heart” can contact Evelyn Snider at 613-374-2587. The Group’s next event is planned for February 16, 2009 at the VFMC. Watch for details.

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