Woman’s club gets update on OVYN

MEETING GUESTS — Mary Beth Allan, second from right, president of the OFWC Woman’s Club of Wintersville, welcomed guests to the organization’s December meeting, including speaker Bobbyjon Bauman, president of the Ohio Valley Youth Network and program manager at the Sycamore Youth and Community Center, and performers Jacqueline Shea, second from left, and Alexandra Kaine, both of whom are past winners in the Valley’s Got Talent competition, an Ohio Valley Youth Network event. -- Janice Kiaski

WINTERSVILLE — The OFWC Woman’s Club of Wintersville will begin meetings for the second half of its 2018-19 club year next week, gathering Jan. 17 at the Schiappa Branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County for a noon luncheon, presentation and business session.

The guest speaker will be Judy Hladek, CEO and founder of the Wellness Bridge, which helps individuals improve their lives through lifestyle changes, according to its website.

Gloria Popp, Carol Yaich and Nancy Antill are listed as hostesses with Bonnie DiDomenico giving the meditation and grace. The monthly project will be collecting school supplies.

The club’s Dec. 20 meeting included musical entertainment provided by Alexandra Kaine and Jacqueline Shea, both of whom are past winners in the Valley’s Got Talent competition, an event organized by the Ohio Valley Youth Network.

Bobbyjon Bauman, guest speaker, founded the nonprofit and gave club members an overview of it and the Sycamore Youth and Community Center located at 301 N. Fourth St., Steubenville.

It started out a little over five years ago, and its purpose is to get different groups together — schools, community leaders, churches, church youth ministry, social agency leaders and others — to network and find ways to steer youth in the right direction, he said.

The genesis of it came about six years ago when Bauman said after he had moved to the area and saw what he described as “a kind of a void in the community spiritually.”

His response to wanting to make a difference in Steubenville was launching the Sonshine Bible Club, which initially was held at First Westminster Presbyterian Church but now is one of the many programs offered at the nearby Sycamore Center.

“We have had as many as 120 kids there, and now we ended up having to spit them up in two groups to 50 kids coming at a time,” he said. Children learn the 10 commandments and basic Bible verses, for example.

“I look at this kind of like a 10-year plan to see if we can get Steubenville changed and the Wintersville area as well but it would take time. In ministry I know you can’t just change things overnight. It takes some time to see things change so the Sonshine Bible Club was kind of the beachhead of the thing we started initially because I wanted to see these children raised up in such a way that they would grow to love the Lord,” Bauman said.

“I was trying to bring back some of that morality to stem some of the stuff that’s going on the streets with gang activity and drug activities and where kids are getting into unhealthy activities here in the local area,” he continued. “The thing is by God’s grace after five years later, it’s kind of a titanic movement — a large ship headed in one direction is slowly turning around and coming back in a direction toward a more positive way.”

Another facet involved giving youth “an opportunity to learn about the Lord and about basic biblical morality within the schools.” Bauman said he got the green light with Steubenville City Schools to start a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bible study before school. That effort, he said, has since mushroomed into a presence in 17 schools in the area with Bible studies in place before or after school or during the lunch hour.

“It’s really been kind of a neat thing, like leaven in the loaf,” Bauman said, noting many volunteers help make the Bible studies and network’s programs happen.

“We have wonderful Bible studies taking place, but we’re starting to see change in and through those different activities,” he said. The OVYN also started the Valley’s Got Talent competition four years ago where youth perform family-friendly or Christian music in a competition that awards more than a $1,000 in prize money donated by local businesses. The last event attracted 620 people to Steubenville High School’s auditorium where the events are held.

“People are really starting to get behind these different things happening, and it’s just by God’s grace that these are taking place,” Bauman said, noting a 3D mentoring program is another fruit of the network.

“I had looked to started a center for youth in the community for a little while, and there was a building up on Maryland Avenue, and I put in a bid on it and got rejected, and it’s was God’s providence,” he said in sharing the story of how the OVYN came to get for free, instead, the center that formerly was Sycamore Tree United Methodist Church.

Despite no mortgage, it does cost $20,000 a year to run the building, he said. “We are trusting the Lord to bring the money in and so far, so good.” Renovations to the building were made over the summer by many volunteers under the direction of building manager Paula Stevens, also a volunteer

“We have more than 100 kids each week who come in to the Sycamore Center, and the kids just love it,” he said. It offers, among other things, free cooking, sewing, art and music classes and woodworking and has a youth choir, dance team and mime team.

“There are some good things going on in Steubenville and Wintersville so when you hear negative about the youth, I would encourage you to take this to heart — things are starting to change,” Bauman said.

Mary Beth Allan, club president, presided at the meeting, with a “Night Before Christmas” reading. Recording Secretary Joan Doan read the minutes of the November meeting.

Treasurer Karen Hill’s report included a review of Holiday Splendor, the club’s December fundraiser to generate money to award scholarships. There were 217 tickets sold with a profit of $4,880.20.

Gratitude was expressed to all those who helped make the event a success.

The club received various thank-you notes, Corresponding Secretary Aimee Jaros reported, including from Urban Mission, the Holiday Splendor committee, the AIM Women’s Center and a recipient of one of the Chinese auction baskets at Holiday Splendor.

In committee reports, Natalie Doty invited club members to help make ornaments after the meeting for nursing home residents and said she had delivered poetry and short story information to schools.

A conservation project challenging members to recycle something to make a Christmas decoration attracted seven participants. The winners were: Kim Morgan, first; Ruth Carson, second; and Janet Hoobler, third.

Linda Nolf, parliamentary adviser, led a humorous skit with officers that explained the duties of different club positions.

The club’s Feb. 21 meeting will return to St. Florian in Wintersville.