HANDS (Helping Area Needs for Diverse Services) of Wyoming County is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality and availability of early care and education in Wyoming County. This is done through implementing planning strategies, supporting growth and development of high quality early child care, and making sure early child care staff are well trained and informed with the latest information about the care of children. HANDS also advocates for early education by informing policymakers and the community about current issues, challenges and opportunities surrounding early care and education.
Would you be interested in donating materials or funds to expand the Educator/Parent Resource Lab? Would you be interested in helping to provide special programs to children and families in Wyoming County? Could you spare some of your time to help out at the Center with projects or programs?
All donations are tax exempt. A copy of HANDS 501(c) 3 exemption papers are available upon request.
By completing the form below, you'll be entered into our secure, coordinated network of community resources, powered by Unite Us, that is available to help. A specialist will contact you after you submit the form.
HANDS was started in 2002 as an advisory board, which was part of a state initiative to improve the quality of early care and education in each county across the state. HANDS' first step was to do a community needs assessment in 2004, which revealed a need for improved early care and education through better services provided by the existing programs, fill service gaps within existing community programs and to raise awareness in the community regarding the importance of quality early childhood education. The organization moved forward to address these needs by establishing the Wyoming County Family Resource Center and by becoming a non-profit in 2005. The Family Resource Center promotes formal and informal supports for families believing in a strong sense of community and belonging through group connections and programs that focus on family engagement and well-being.
The first five years of a child's life is a period of incredible cognitive, emotional and social growth. Experiences during these early years can set children on pathways that have lifelong emotional, social and academic consequences.
HANDS helps prepare young children entering Kindergarten by partnering with Tunkhannock Area and Lackawanna Trail School Districts and implementing the following programs:
HANDS hosts a weekly story hour. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring their child(ren) to the Family Resource Center to enjoy a story, craft, and snack. Visitors can explore the Family Resource Center and engage in age related play while caregivers partake in adult conversation. See HANDS Facebook Page for more information related to details of story hour.
HANDS of Wyoming County has developed a virtual summer camp platform for participants: a Google classroom specific for FANS Camp. The website delivers virtual lessons related to gardening, engagement in craft activities, and guide physical activities.
The school garden has become an integral part of FANS Camp, and the team is committed to educating our youngest learners, aiding in the accessibility to free fresh produce, promoting healthy eating for our community. Seed packets were sent to families so they could begin their own garden at home, with counselors taking over the onsite school garden, all while sharing visuals in the Google classroom.
Stories and craft activities could be uploaded to the Google site with the ability for instruction to be printed out. Families could gather materials needed prior and a video demonstration could take place virtually. A recorded story hour could be uploaded using the same platform.
Camp counselors have been highly creative in developing a plan for physical activities. Some ideas included posting blogs of area landmarks to visit for a walk or hike, demonstration of outdoor games with printable instructions, and yoga lessons that could be streamed.
Our preference is to have FANS Camp onsite, but the team strongly believes the virtual setting is the next best option as we all adjust to our new "temporary normal." If restrictions are lifted specific to summer camps, HANDS camp counselors would make the necessary adjustments and welcome students back to our Mehoopany location.
Interested families can call 570-833-2350 for more information and registration instructions to access the Google classroom.
HANDS of Wyoming County is part of the CEO Weinberg Food Bank's charitable food network. The building is staffed every day from 9 to 4 to accommodate families in need. In addition, a choice pantry is operational once a month through a drive-through where residents drive their vehicle through a distribution line or park in their cars and wait for services remaining in their car. The distribution is held the third Monday of every month and a preregistration is required one week prior.