WARREN - The Mahoning Valley Hope Center, 3217 Surrey Road, held its official launch this month.
Robert Kovach Jr., outreach director / public relations for the center, said a launch dinner was held and the community was invited to come to the center and see what is available.
Kovach said the center started in late summer at the First Baptist Church building with activities including entrepreneurial programs, the "drop back in" program, which helps individuals complete their general education diploma, and the urban 4-H program for children.
"Many representatives from the different programs were here to help provide information on what they offer,'' he said.
The church uses the building on Sunday for worship, and Kovach said there is a physician once a week onsite providing healthcare services.
He said since opening there has been a job fair with local business owners, a candlelight vigil remembering those affected by alcohol and drug abuse, violence and suicide, and tree-lighting ceremony.
The center is a place where several churches are combining resources to provide programming for their congregations. The center has recovery service, and day care and other services.
"We offer Project Hope to help people in need at the holidays. Our goal is to reach out to those in need in the community,'' Kovach said.
Lou Limongi, board chairman, said the organization was looking for a location and found the church.
"It provides an ideal place for our different programs and services," he said.
Limongi said the first program at the center was "Drop Back In," which helps those ages 18 to 22 return get their high school diploma.
Chuck Gantz, executive director, said the official launch brought to reality a vision he and others have had for providing education and services to the local community.
Mayor Doug Franklin said ''it was very inspiring to see the center that helps so many become a reality.''
"I remember when it was just being discussed as an idea, and today it is a reality that will benefit those in our community," said Franklin, who was among the guest speakers at the dinner.
Among the programs and services are Drop Back in Center, the Financial Peace University, Girl Scouts, Celebrate Recovery 24-hour crisis and referral center, the Ohio Benefits Bank, Urban 4-H, Junior Master Gardeners, Jobs for Life, Northeast Ohio Coalition (NEOCORR), Alateen, Power Thoughts, Celebrate Recovery and Crisis Intervention and Referral Center.
The center can be reached at 330-369-301.