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Center for Wisdom’s Women launches final phase of Sophia’s House fundraising campaign

Campaign co-chairs Audrey Chapman and Mike Carey invite all ages to the public kick-off event on Sunday, September 9.

The Center for Wisdom’s Women invites the public to a community celebration to launch the last phase of its capital campaign for Sophia’s House. Taking place on Sunday, September 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. on the grounds of 143 Blake Street, on the corner of Walnut Street behind St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, the event will feature food, building tours, games, and community building activities as special guests share music and poetry.

Women with Wings, a singing circle that has met weekly for 25 years, will lead several singing circles throughout the afternoon in the former chapel of the old convent. Each session will be followed by a tour of the convent building. Also in the convent, Claire Hersom will read from her poetry collection, “Drowning: A Poetic Memoir.” After each poem, she will engage the audience in discussion and invite participants to do some writing.

Other musicians offering their talents will include Greg and Jessie Boardman, who will share tunes and folk songs on fiddle and guitar. In the second hour, Jessy Kendall will lead a drumming circle.  Rhythm instruments will be available for use or you may bring your own. As an added treat, free frozen yogurt from Top It Frozen Dessert Bar will be available along with other snacks. Volunteers from Health Affiliates Maine will offer creative activities for the young and young at heart, including painting Sophia Stones with positive messages. The stones will then be hidden around the neighborhood and shared via Facebook posts when found.

The Sophia’s House project involves restoring an old convent building that will provide a long-term residential recovery community where women who have survived trafficking/exploitation, prison, and addiction can restore their lives. The building has been vacant for 16 years and is being donated by St. Mary’s Health System.

The total cost of renovations and repairs are estimated at $1.6 million. A combination of historic tax credits, a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston under Norway Savings Bank’s sponsorship, and a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Lewiston, along with two significant lead gifts, will provide the bulk of the $1.6 million needed. A campaign cabinet is working to raise the additional $550,000. The remaining funding will allow the project to operate debt-free.

The goal is to begin renovations late this year and open the house before the end of 2019, which will be 20 years since the Daughters of Wisdom founded the Center for Wisdom’s Women.

This celebratory kick-off event is funded by a grant from Healthy Neighborhoods. All ages are welcome. If it rains, the event will take place inside St. Mary’s Nutrition Center and the convent building. For more information contact Klara Tammany at 513-3922 or visit http://wisdomswomen.org.

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