Partners for HOPE Center Coalition Gets Update on Sci-Fi Convention for Lamar


Lori Hammer, Executive Director of the HOPE Center on North 10th Street told guests and Coalition members that attendance numbers are off somewhat compared to pre-COVID-19 months and some of the drop-off can also be attributed to a number of activities in April.  “We are averaging about 100 students a day,” she stated during the April 19th meeting.

A report from Emily Nieschburg from One Step Up youth group said a $30,000 grant will allow a host of projects to move forward.  “We’re conducting a bird house building project, giving students an opportunity to meet the challenge of working from drawn samples and constructing multi-colored and different shaped birdhouses.”  Coalition President, Byron Hall, constructs all the materials from plans and sketches and the students assemble them and to date about 30 have been completed and will be placed in the City Tree Farm located north of the former Lincoln School.

Twenty bikes are also being assembled by students in the program and future rides on the bikes will be scheduled for Fridays.  Students do a lot of outdoor work including seeding the neighborhood garden and some 5,000 ladybugs were released into the air.  The ladybugs aid garden growth by eating mites and other leaf-eating insects.

Destiny Jenkins, a HOPE student since her 4th grade, briefed the group on her future plans following graduation in Lamar, including college courses at CSU-Fort Collins.  She is involved in a bridge program that spans high school senior activities with a college freshman curriculum.  “The bridge program runs through August and from then on, I’ll be at CSU majoring in social work studies,” she said.  Jenkins has been involved in the Rotary Youth program, known as Interact and volunteers some of her time with Helping Hands which offers free clothing from the Lincoln School at assigned times of the month.  She’s also been involved with Sparrow House Ministries.

Byron Hall provided an outline on what may be a big event in Lamar this summer.  Billed as a High Plains Sci-Fi Fan Expo, the July 16th event will be held at the Lamar Community Building from 10am to 9pm.  Hall said there will be something for everyone, similar to, but not near the scale of the world-famous San Diego Comic-Con or the one held in Colorado Springs around August or September.  “We’re using every room at the community building for all kinds of activities including booths, displays, seminars, dinner…how to build a light-saber or a sword…more hands-on creations than just playing video games and there will be a sci-fi movie night.  Guest speakers include noted comic book artist Ted Nasmith as well as YA authors Christopher Paolini, Tricia Copeland and more.  Nasmith is noted for his illustrations in J.R. Tolkien’s, “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well as the prequel, “The Silmarillion”.

“We’re planning on workshops offering tips on drawing comic books, a costume contest, a live-action figure booth where you can morph your own face onto a graphic of a superhero.  There isn’t any age limit to this. We expect to have a young crowd, but these events attract fans of all ages.”  A planning session was held recently and Hall said he welcomes ideas and input from the community for games, comics, role-playing and other activities such as Hobbit Doors.  Hall explained that paintings of the doors used by Hobbits from the Ring trilogy will be displayed around town with prizes offered for their discovery.

By Russ Baldwin

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