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Creating hope

Discover Hope’s counseling work continues through remodeling process

Visitors at Discover Hope’s new facility will not only be greeted with a support system and counseling treatment, executive director and co-founder Robbie Robinson said there is a good chance they will be put to work.

Ever since Robinson and his team members moved the faith-based substance abuse counseling center and nonprofit organization from its temporary space at the Haven Vineyard Church to the former Bob Hawkins Photography Studio, volunteers and guests with desires to better their lives have pitched in to improve Discover Hope’s new home.

“I look at this project, and I think it’s been amazing how our community has stepped up to the occasion,” Robinson said. “... We encourage our people to come in, see what we’re doing, pray for us, look at what’s going on and we’ll put you to work. It’s a great way to build that family atmosphere and talk, fellowship, hang out.”

Jen Widner, a leader and kitchen/events coordinator at Discover Hope, said there are just a few chores staff ask of their volunteers. They may not be installing utilities or toiling over carpentry work, but visitors still work up a sweat.

“We’ve had people come help and move stuff in the backyard, do drywall, patch holes, help paint a little bit — just certain things,” Widner said. “... People that come in, they can connect with people (and) work with people that have been where they’ve been.”

Still very much a work in progress, crews and volunteers have stripped away the remnants of the former photography studio to create a clean slate. Blank walls and open rooms are waiting to receive a final coat of paint and be filled with furniture and other amenities.

James Shadden, another member of Discover Hope and owner/operator of Redeemed Painting, and his team of painters have prioritized their efforts toward the completion of the facility’s kitchen area, an important addition to Discover Hope as it regularly hosts lunches every day from noon to 1 p.m. as a means for fellowship and to seek out those who want to be free from addiction.

“We’ve done a lot of demolition work and getting things prepped. Right now, we’re just getting the dry wall finished so we can get texture on it, and then we’ll paint it and have the colors picked out,” Shadden said Wednesday morning, his hands and clothes freckled with smudges of dried paint. “We do what we can with what the Lord provides. It’s all on His timing.”

Approximately $160,000 has been fundraised for the 8,000-square-foot Newton facility thus far, almost halfway to Discover Hope’s $360,000 building goal. Substantial grants from local foundations have greatly benefitted the nonprofit, which proudly displays its funding progress on a tall thermometer inside the building at 733 First Ave. E.

Once the remodeling project is fully completed, Discover Hope will have its own community center, individual offices, conference room, prayer room, kitchen area, restrooms, gift shop and transitional housing for up to 10 recovering residents.

Of course, the services provided by Discover Hope are still in full effect including Understanding Moms and Understanding Dads groups, a Women’s Serenity group and other fellowship and recovery opportunities. After the remodeling phase, Robinson said the new and improved space of Discover Hope will affect its services “in a greater way.”

He said, “It’s going to create opportunity where we can all come together and serve an individual from a holistic standpoint ... What we want to do is invite you to this safe place, this safe refuge, this safe haven.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

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