Chocolate Extravaganza set for Saturday night

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Event supports The New Life Center

By Kacie Goode

For more than two decades, The New Life Center of Bardstown has been assisting families in the Nelson County area with parenting classes and mentorship, and while a lot has changed over the years, its mission remains the same.

“We help any way we can, our families, and we want to do what we can to keep our children safe,” said Marcella Crenshaw, the organization’s executive director.

To continue supporting families, the New Life Center is hosting its Chocolate Extravaganza fundraiser this Saturday, and tickets are on sale through Friday and can be purchased by calling (502) 233-8003. Cost is $25 per person.

The Chocolate Extravaganza serves as a showcase for the non-profit organization and its clients, while also including a buffet of chocolate treats, a silent auction and more. This year’s event will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Guthrie Opportunity Center.

“It’s our 20th anniversary,” Crenshaw said of The New Life Center. “So, we are highlighting all the years of hard work that so many have put into it.”

Incorporated in October 1998, The New Life Center started as a resource for teenage mothers. Originally, the center offered free childcare to the young moms so that they could finish their education. Transportation, tutoring and outreach to extended families were also provided.

As a community need grew, the center discontinued the child care aspect, but expanded its reach to pregnant women and parents of any age and their families who were in crisis, formally redefining its mission in 2011 to support families by offering mentoring and parenting classes to both men and women.

Today, the center serves around 165 people and utilizes classes and an extensive video library covering a variety of topics. For each class attended and video watched, parents can earn “baby bucks” to be used on items in the center’s boutique, which includes clothing, diapers, and other needed supplies.

One of the newest and perhaps most vital parts of the ministry, Crenshaw said, is the center’s outreach to incarcerated parents. She said staff and volunteers visit men and women at the jail twice a week for parenting classes and discussions on anger management and building healthy relationships.

The services provided by The New Life Center are free.

“For 20 years, we’ve served this community without charge to our clients,” Crenshaw said, crediting the support of churches, community organizations, businesses and donors for making that possible, and for support received through events such as Saturday’s. Every year, the Chocolate Extravaganza attracts hundreds of guests and raises thousands to support the mission, and last year’s event brought in more than $30,000.

The New Life Center is open Monday-Wednesday and is located at 202 E. Stephen Foster Ave. in Bardstown. Services are free and confidential. Learn more at www.thenewlifecenter.com.