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A TIME FOR RETROSPECTION

“http://ogden_images.s3.amazonaws.com/www.reviewonline.com/images/2017/05/19173706/comm2-781×500.jpg” alt=”comm2″ width=”781″ height=”500″ class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-646813″ />May 28th will mark the first anniversary of the East Liverpool Area Community & Learning Center. A question posed to a volunteer recently was “What is the purpose of the Community Center?” That is a simple and reasonable question. The short answer is that our purpose is to provide a place to be proud of where residents of the area can visit, bring their out-of-town guests and neighbors or just be a place to relax, learn and socialize. Does that sound simple?

We never had a blueprint on what a community center should be and how to accomplish it. Visiting area centers and searching the subject on the internet didn’t provide much help. There were as many answers to the question as there were centers. The Center facilities do not readily lend themselves well for physical exercise. The area already has two good YMCA facilities, ball fields and swimming pools to meet those needs. Therefore it was decided that we should create our own original purpose that would best meet the needs of this area.

The close proximity to city school buildings suggests that there is an opportunity to join with area school systems in educational endeavors for the benefit of the young people while motivating the young and not-so-young to learn more about the proud heritage of the tri-state area where they live. In many cases they grew up and have spent their entire lives here.

There is a Board of Directors composed of strong community leaders each with different skill sets and backgrounds. Each Board Member has experienced great success in his or her occupation and public service experience. However none of the Directors has had any experience in the operation of a community center.

We are a volunteer driven organization from top to bottom. Here are some examples of volunteerism at its best: The dedicated leaders of Boy Scout Troop 12 and of the Girl Scouts have led those groups to much growth over the past twelve months. This is also true of the after school program for students run by members of the Trinity Presbyterian Church. The East Liverpool Lions Club, also a tenant of the Center, is committed to the preservation of sight for area residents and the Lions support their programs from their fund raising projects.

Willing volunteers have stepped forward to share their instructional capabilities with their neighbors in the community. Former educators such as Professor Paul Blevins and retired teachers Sharon Whims, Glenn Wollam and Cathy Wollam have mentored students after school at the Center. Artist Lora Russell teaches art to adults and youth each Wednesday. Accomplished music teacher Nancy Hornick began her piano lessons at the Center this past Thursday. Amy McCormick and Jill Winters lead Meditation classes, Susan Conley directs a senior exercise program and dance instructor Janet Kinsey teaches a dance class for adults on Wednesdays.

The Editor of the Ohio Outdoors Magazine Larry Claypool and outdoorsman Craig Wetzel provided fly fishing classes. Fred Miller taught a class on 35 millimeter cameras. The Ohio Wine Growers Association presented a program on ways to better enjoy a glass of wine and how to choose a wine for before and after dinner. Also there are the loyal team of hospitality volunteers who welcome visitors and give them tours of the Center. This includes Tracy Adkins, Ron Anderson, Rita David, Fred Henderson, Don Jones, Veronica Kindsvatter, Carol Monday, Gay Ann Mossman, Donna Todd, Ruth Woodyard, Sharon Whims, Glenn & Cathy Wollam and members of the Board of Directors.

New volunteers continue to show up with offers of their own programs. Plans are underway for gardening classes led by Tanta Hendricks and other holders of master gardening certificates. At the request of Center members we are currently searching for instructors for Bridge and Chess classes.

Senior students from the East Liverpool High School building construction career tech class just completed the renovation of an area in the basement named the Teen Zone. It is equipped with a variety of active games for teen visitors and decorated with sports jerseys and other memorably from the four area high schools. New volunteers have stepped forward and offered to share their skills and knowledge at pool and ping pong on tables in the new Teen Zone. It has been suggested that there could be a team from each of the school districts that would meet regularly and compete while building closer ties and relationships among area students.

Another good question would be “Who is responsible for making sure that our Area Community Center will be around for the future?” There is a Board of Directors of the HHH Foundation that has the responsibility for overseeing the finances and the Center’s assets such as the property where the Center is located. The chairman of the Board is Charlie Lang who is a retired bank executive and an attorney at law. He also serves as the Center Coordinator. Insurance executive Stephen W. Cooper and retired industrial executive Mike Parkes are the two Vice Presidents. Mike serves as the Chairman of Volunteers at the Center and Steve Cooper serves as the Board Secretary. The Treasurer is CPA William L. Miller of Miller Stacey & Associates where he is the senior partner of the firm.

Board member William Gray is a retired manager with Verizon in Maryland. Bill returned home to continue pursuit of his interest as a collector and to co-author with his wife Donna a book about chinaware produced in this area. The Grays have donated a significant portion of their collection of Harker pottery to the Center. They make themselves available to conduct tours of their wonderful exhibit. Donna also serves as the Recording Secretary of the Board. Board member Roger “Rocky” Sanford is a retired bank executive and presently serves as President of the Calcutta Rotary Club. Rocky also headed up the renovation of the property donated by Trinity Presbyterian Church for use as a community center.

Board Member Linda Henderson is a retired teacher and Principal of the East Liverpool Public School system. She heads up the programming for mentoring students and leads reading programs for youth. Board Member Jim Lewis is a retired Pharmacist and is an officer of the Lions Club that is a permanent tenant at the Center. Jim serves the Center as its Manager.

There are two recent additions to the Board. Darlene Kinsey is President of the Southern Columbiana County Chamber of Commerce and she is a sales representative at Grand Ford. David Conley is a retired executive manager in ceramic manufacturing. He presently exhibits some beautiful and unique Homer Laughlin china at the Center. David presented the Legacy & Legends Lecture at the Center on the subject of Homer Laughlin China Company.

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