Childrens center expects to operate new home soon

First Posted: 12/27/2008

DOBSON Not every child has a safe place to call home during the holidays. But representatives with the Childrens Center of Surry hope a new addition to the nonprofit organization will change those circumstances for some children.
The Childrens Center of Surry is adding a residence under its umbrella that will help it serve more children of need in Surry County and surrounding areas.
Last month, the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners decided to enter into an agreement with the Childrens Center to allow the organization to lease an inoperative group home for $1 a year as a new residence that would primarily serve Yadkin County residents.
While the Childrens Center, which provides comprehensive support programs for both parents and children and residency for the children, primarily serves Surry County and surrounding areas, nearly a quarter to a third of its children are from Yadkin County, said Mark Fuhrmann, the centers education director. The home is expected to open in the spring, creating eight to 10 jobs at the location, he added.
It has not been used in about a year and a half, but it did operate as a group home for many years, he said, adding that the benefit of reopening the new facility allows children to maintain stability in their own environments. Yadkin County students can continue to go to school there, stay closer to family and other services. It will also free up bed space in our Surry County location.
The Childrens Center residence, which is in Dobson, has enough bed space to house nine children. But with numbers that small, the Childrens Center is constantly turning down children every year to live there, which includes about 150 children in the last two years, according to the centers Executive Director Robin Testerman.
In agreement with Fuhrmann, Testerman said the new residence, which has enough space to house six, will let the organization better serve more children.
They can stay in their community, stay connected to family and resources, she said.
Along with the additional residence, the organization will be renovating a brick building behind the Lighthouse Restaurant in Dobson to be used as a children and family resource center. That is expected to open in the summer.
The new location will move the family-orientated programs out of the basement of the Childrens Centers main location, so it can be used as additional space for those living there.
The Childrens Center is funded in-part by the government, but mostly through donations, fundraising and grants. Through the help of the community and various organizations, Testerman said that last year, the center served more than 1,700 parents, which includes a total of 500 children, through both programs for parents and residency.
She said her vision for the organization is to expand the centers measures of assistance and facility space.
We are going to do more follow-ups on children and a lot of strategic planning because we see the need of our community, she said. Our long-term goal is to service children in need in the capacity necessary. We want to make sure we are doing everything possible to build stronger families and through that build a stronger community.
For more information about donating to the Childrens Center of Surry or volunteering, visit or call 386-9144.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at or 719-1952.

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