The parking lot was full and the phones were ringing Thursday night at the L.H. Jones Family Resource Center but not from emergencies. It was because of the 20th anniversary celebration, which was in full swing by 6:30 p.m.
“We are really pleased with the turnout,” said Director of the Family Resource Center (FRC) Annalisa Davis. “It is great to see home many brought their kids out, just like we had hoped they would. All of this is to bring awareness of what we do here. We are off the beaten path and not along a major highway so it’s important for us to go above and beyond so they know we are here.”
According to Davis, the celebration emphasized to parents to bring their children because they wanted the former school to have a positive image in the minds of young 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.
“I’m already planning our 25th anniversary in my mind now,” Davis said. “We’ve gotten so many good comments on the improvements we’ve made here. It takes a lot of time and money. It is a work in progress.” She remarked how anyone strolling from the head start classrooms, the community room and the gymnasium would notice a sense of community in the informal atmosphere of the event.
Davis said she and the other organizers never wanted the anniversary celebration and the center to be a sterile, uninviting environment. The successful formula for the celebration was tested two years earlier at an open house held at the FRC. In spite of all the dancing and fellowship, she said needs met by many of the agencies housed in the building still exists in Surry County. She said she hoped the event would also show those who donate to the center their money is going to help others locally.
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.
Agencies located in the FRC include 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.
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.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.