We are honored to announce the 2019 Award Winners for our

Night of Inspiring Hope


Hope & Courage Award 

Christel Flores 

Christel Flores is a wife and a mother of two.  Christel’s mother was an addict and Christel was always very driven, but would go long periods of time with little to no sleep.  C


hristel self-medicated to get herself through, but then began to have serious hallucinations and endured many hospital visits and succumbed to her suicidal thoughts twice, but fortunately they both were unsuccessful and landed her in a psychiatric facility. It was there where she found help and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD. Today Christel has found HOPE and purpose in her life and attributes much of this thanks to Fresh Hope.Christel Flores


Andrea Pedersen 

Andrea works for the League of Human Dignity as an Independent Living Advisor/Housing & Design Specialist.  Andrea’s passion in life is to help people with disabilities live as independently as possible, ever since she became disabled herself. She has a supportive family which includes her parents, her identical twin sister, and her younger brother, Kevin. Fresh Hope has helped Andrea to know she’s not the only one going through these struggles and has taught her new skills to help her. Andrea thanks the facilitators she’s had in Lincoln & Bellevue who have shown her great compassion and support.

Andrea Pedersen.jpg


Rebecca Blevins  

In kindergarten, Rebecca was diagnosed with ADD and by age 13 was placed in foster care due to being traumatized from much abuse. Rebecca was later diagnosed with ADD, PTSD, clinical depression, Bipolar Disorder II, and OCD. In May of 2018, Rebecca found a Fresh Hope group and has gone most every week and made new friends. Rebecca was awarded a certificate for completion in Peer Support Specialist Training through the University of Richmond and also awarded a certificate of completion in DBHDS Peer Recovery Specialist training. She now works as a Peer Counselor. HOPE (an acronym) to Rebecca means: Helping Other Peers Excel!



Encouraging Hope Award 

Paul Novak  

Paul Novak was born in Pender, NE, and grew up on a farm north of Decatur. He now works for Omaha Public Schools as an electronics technician. Paul and his wife have two grown sons, one who is a pre-pharmacy student at Wesleyan and one who recently joined the Marines.  Paul is a somewhat quiet, reserved, and hardworking man who has stood by his wife, who has struggled with severe depression, for over 20 years.  Paul has been a loving husband and an involved partner in parenting their sons.  We can “hear the love in his voice” when Paul talks about his family. Paul has been a faithful participant in the Blair Fresh Hope group, listens patiently without judging, and graciously offers to help clean up after weekly meetings. 

Paul Novak 1


Jon Hanchett  

Jon and his wife, Stephanie, will be married 50 years in August and have six children and ten grandchildren. They also were licensed foster parents for seventeen years and during that time fostered 34 teenage boys. Jon has a Master’s degree and has worked in the field of social work from 1976 until he retired in 2016. He had the opportunity to work in many different areas, including Child Protective Services, Youth at Risk, and Mental Health Case Management. In 2018, Jon became a facilitator for Fresh Hope in Shawano, Wisconsin.  He has a passion for the ministry of Fresh Hope and the people who attend his group because he has seen first-hand the great need and the positive impact Fresh Hope has given them. 

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Judy Hopkins  

Judy spent most of her working career, working with long term psychiatric patients at Douglas County Hospital.    Judy has two children. Melody, now 40 years old, who was born with cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities.  Her son Michael, who is present this evening, works coordinating outings and activities for people with mental health challenges and developmental disabilities. In 2001, Judy and her husband, Frank, became licensed foster care parents for teenage boys who experienced mental health challenges. They are now legal guardians for two of them. 



Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.





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