EXETER TWP. — Tristan Sokach wanted to make an impact on some people’s lives.
The 14-year-old Boy Scout from West Pittston did just that. He collected more than $1,100 and 10,000 diapers for infants served by Hannah’s Hope Maternity Home, a supervised residence for women experiencing crisis pregnancies.
The not-for-profit home also provides educational services to enhance parenting and life skills and the spiritual well-being of the mothers.
Sokach is a Life Scout in the Boy Scouts, one step below the Eagle Scout rank. He will be a freshman at Wyoming Area High School in September.
An altar server and lector at Corpus Christi Church — the consolidated parish of Immaculate Conception in West Pittston and Holy Redeemer in Harding — Sokach decided to take his mission to the parishioners. He spoke at all Masses of both church locations, making an impassioned plea for donations. His words were effective, and the people responded.
“When I talked to my parents, I learned that diapers can be very expensive,” Sokach said. “I never thought I’d be able to get 10,000 donated.”
Sokach is the son of Donnie and Mary Beth Sokach-Minnick. He has two brothers, Stephen, 12, and Blaise, 9. Tristan is a member of Boy Scout Troop 302, West Pittston. He plays football, baseball and track and he likes to read.
Nita Sarnak, director of Hannah’s Hope, said the diapers will go a long way — enough for at least three babies for a year. Sokach also had baby wipes donated in addition to $1,113 in cash.
Mary Beth Sokach-Minnick said her family was flooded out of their Exeter Avenue home in 2011 and she remembers how the community responded with help for flood victims.
“People we didn’t know helped us,” she said. “And we feel it’s important for us to give back now.”
Mary Beth Sokach-Minnick knew of Hannah’s Hope, its mission and Sarnak’s dedication. “I don’t know anyone who could stand in her shadow as far as volunteerism goes,” she said of Sarnak. “We’re very proud of Tristan and what he has accomplished. At 14 he has made quite an impact on some very young lives. All of our boys have kind hearts and make good choices.”
Tristan said he will build on his success. He will find other causes and other people and organizations to help.
“I’ll do my best to help where I can,” he said.
Sarnak said Tristan Sokach is a hero to her and her residents. “What a great example of kids helping kids,” she said. “A lot of young boys are out there doing no good. There there are kids like Tristan who are doing so much to help others.”
The project was completed within a month. The two churches served as drop-off centers for the diapers and other donations.
The day the project began Tristan served as an altar server and lector before delivering his speeches.
“Our pastor said if (Tristan) could only do Mass, it would be a clean sweep,” Mary Beth Sokach-Minnick said with a smile.