The L.H. Jones Family Resource Center’s 20th Anniversary event Thursday looks to celebrate the center’s figurative transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly.
According to Director of the Family Resource Center (FRC) Annalisa Davis, the celebration is open to the public but special emphasis has been given to parents because they want to be a positive image in the minds of children as they grow older. Davis and Senior Center Director Brack Llewellyn both recalled how “a lot of sweat equity” had brought the former Jones School back from its falling into disrepair after the school was closed.
The FRC opened in 1994. It is typically open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with extended hours for special activities. Davis said there are around 14 agencies in the building with a waiting list of other non profits because of the cost sharing price charged them, which is based on the square footage they will occupy.
Funding for the center building and grounds comes from the County as well as fund raising, concessions and community use fees. The Yadkin Valley Economic Development District Incorporated (YVEDDI) is the administrative entity for the center. Davis said many of the FRC agencies are under YVEDDI’s umbrella, although not all are.
The anniversary celebration will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Davis said refreshments as well as live music performed by Dennis Tolbert and Friends will be featured as well as information booths on member agencies of the FRC. Activities planned include a bounce house, Mount Airy Fire Department trucks and special appearances by Bob the Builder, Charles the Chef and the Chick-fil-A cow mascot.
The two agreed there is still a great need in Surry County based on requests the FRC routinely receives. Davis said she remembered when the building was slated to be torn down but was saved by the efforts of “those with a vision.” Both said the center has a tradition of being able to fund projects, such as its new sign, by being frugal with volunteers stepping up to make improvements happen in spite of money always being an issue.
“I’d volunteered with projects over the years hear,” Llewellyn said. “Until I came to work here I didn’t know how busy the center stays. It really is amazing what is happening here. The college (SCC) has a lot going on as well and we have had droves of people visit Grace’s Closet. The Headstart is always full as well as daycare. I’m also more aware now of how busy we are at night with classes and meetings. People love this space. We really strive to project the sense of welcoming people.”
Davis said she feels strongly about carrying on a tradition of treating everyone seeking help at the center with kindness, even if they can’t help them. She said technology has helped staffers to be better be able to use databases to refer clients to people who can help them.
Other agencies located in the FRC are Lifespan, Circle School Development Center, Piedmont Triad Regional Council-Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Piedmont Triad Regional Council-eLink Youth Program, J.J. Jones Alumni Association, Financing Pathways of the Piedmont, The Children’s Center of Surry Inc., YVEDDI, Head Start and NC Pre-K, YVEDDI Community Services self sufficiency program and displaced homemakers program, the Surry County Senior Center and YVEDDI Senior Enrichment Services. Persons may call 336-786-6155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.