Q & A with Judy Hauck

Executive director talks about the mission of the faith-based The Good News Center, what it does and how it’s funded

by David L. Podos

Q: What is the Good News Foundation and how did it start?

A: Well, The Good News Center [also referred to as The Good News Foundation] has been around for just over 30 years. In fact, we just celebrated our anniversary last year. The center was originally founded by two local families, the Schneidermans and the Drozs. The Schneidermans were a family who owned a wholesale grocery distributing business here in Utica. The family through time accumulated enough financial resources that upon retirement they were wondering what to do with that money. That is when their daughter and son-in law approached them and said, “as a faith-based couple let’s see if there is something that we can do to help the spiritual side of people right here in our local community.”

Q: That is quite incredible. So, through the generosity of both of these families the center was created and is still sustained by that generosity that was given more than 30 years ago?

A: Yes, it is quite incredible and what is just as incredible we do not have to rely on any state and or federal monies to sustain us.

Q: What are some of the services that you offer?

A: First and foremost, we share the love of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of him to all. So, on the spiritual side we try and spread the good news and talk about Jesus and teach about Jesus, and we know that Jesus spread his love through the way he treated people and to care for people. One of our programs is a ministry called Love One Another where we are trying to reach different aspects of the community. For example, we have a group of ladies who crochet. They crochet baby blankets and lap blankets and we give them away to people in nursing homes, to mothers who are considering on ending their pregnancy. We are now in the process of a fund drive. We are collecting items from the community and distributing these items to Utica Rehab Center, [formally Saint Joseph Nursing Home]. These items are things that the residents do not normally receive such as adult coloring books or decks of playing cards for instance.

Q: I recently heard a commercial on my car radio about the Good News Center and I believe it mentioned that you provide support for people who might be struggling with their marriage, can you please talk about that?

A: We have a number of support groups that help people with marital issues as well as support for family members who might have a child who is an addict. In regards to people dealing with marital issues, communication is often a problem between married couples, which can lead to bigger problems. So, we have a program that we follow that was written by a social worker from the diocese of Syracuse and we use that template that has 14 different lessons on how to communicate, and how to respect one another. This program is free to all and is peer driven and it is done right here at the center. We also have another program that helps people who might be going through a separation and or divorce. We know that all marriages will not survive. That program is called Divorce Care. This program as well is free and peer driven.

Q: You mentioned you have a program that helps family members who might have a child or children who are dealing with drug addictions. Is this program only for the family or is it also for the child who is dealing with addiction issues?

A: Our parents of addicted loved ones program is quite unique. While we understand and are sensitive to the needs of an addicted child, we also understand the roller coaster ride that parents go on dealing with a family member who is an addict. The problem here is, the parent can become an enabler to their child and experience burn-out. So, this program helps them to learn how to live their own lives without getting sucked into that roller coaster ride that people in addiction can put [the care givers or parents] on.

Q: I also heard that you have a program that helps and supports people who might be going through a period of deep sadness and grieve due to the loss of a loved one, can you please comment on that?

A: Yes, we have a program called Grief Survivors.Those services as well are all peer driven. All of these services mentioned are totally free and are held right here at the center.

Q: Let’s talk a bit about the internal mechanics of the organization. How many staff do you employ?

A: We presently have eight full-time staff and about eight part-time employees. We are also grateful for our volunteers as well.

Q: You mentioned earlier that the center is in sound fiscal order due to the money that came from the Schneiderman and the Droz families but does the center do any fundraising at all to add to that financial security that you have?

A: We do an annual appeal and we have people who support us each year for that. Last year we had an event where we brought in Darryl Strawberry who is a retired professional baseball player for the New York Yankees for 17 years. So those kinds of events do create an additional revenue flow for the center.

Q: I am sure if someone was interested in your services and or wanted more information about those services as well as upcoming events, they can go on your website for that information?

A: Absolutely. Our site is TheGoodNewsCenter.org Our phone number is- 315-735-6210.