Downingtown church builds "The Well" to nourish community

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Sunday, July 31, 2022
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An old funeral home has been given new life as a center for education, recovery services, and transitional housing.

DOWNINGTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Hopewell United Methodist Church is committed to the community, but its building is outside of the main center of town," said Pastor of Community Outreach Keith Wilburn. "And so, in order to connect with a lot of the underserved in the community, Hopewell purchased an old funeral home in 2017 with the intent of converting it into a community center."

The dream was a long time coming, but resulted in the multi-service center now known as, "The Well." It encompasses an after-school program, addiction recovery program, and two apartments used for transitional housing for single mothers.

In the summer, The Well is home to a rambunctious group of students ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade. There, kids get access to personalized opportunities to expand or reinforce their education.

"It's just a place where we could sharpen up on our skills for school and have fun," said 13-year-old Jayla Richards.

Local businesses have lended a hand, either donating goods or inviting students into their spaces to swim or exercise. Local teachers have also volunteered to keep the programming free, fun, and educational.

"There's never been something like this so we knew right away we were filling a hole," said Director of Children and Youth Programs Amy Straub, "Starting with the church and then the community jumping in and just meeting the needs of the kids right here in Downingtown."

While the four-week summer camp is coming to a close, organizers hope it can expand to include high school students in the future.

To learn more about The Well, visit their website.

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