- Posted December 28, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
CEO/Founder After School Provider
Starting with a grassroots effort in 2003, a community visionary identified the need for after school and extended summer learning opportunities for children in the Bronwood community of Terrell County. This visionary through her quiet' steady efforts sustained only by the support of her spouse led the effort to document these needs and create a community collaborative who systematically through community focus groups, surveys and roundtables discussion groups have collectively used the data from DFACS, Family connections, local schools, the local law enforcement agency, the chamber of commerce, churches and surrounding universities to garner support for the children of this small community. In 2008-2009 this community effort received its, first 21st Century Learning Center grant which helped to support expanded efforts for what became known in the Bronwood community as a place where the motto that, "It Is Better To Train A child, Than To Repair An Adult” is truly demonstrated in the programming activities and spirit of the service rendered.
The Positive Direction Youth center which started out as one center with no local partners but an out-of-pocket commitment from two retiring educators has grown to three sites which serve and expanded sector of the county. Today, with the involvement of collaborative partners like the Terrell county public safety, The Bank of Dawson, The city of Bronwood, The Terrell County Chamber Of Commerce, Bethel AME Chur.ch, Terrell County Family Connection, Pizza Hut,(K.I.D.S).Kids in Distress and both Albany State University and Fort Valley State University the results of a comprehensive research project with the UGA College of Family and Consumer Economics which was started in a 2003 effort to implement a comprehensive community planning process, is culminated in this request for expansion of The Positive Direction Youth Center after-school and expanded-year learning and enrichment opportunities. This planning process documented the demographics, economic, and social issues influencing community development as it applies to youth development and the reduction of illiteracy in Terrell County.
Terrell County continue to have limited options for safe after-school learning experiences. To date, according to the American Community Survey 5-year estimates (2005 – 2009) of the U.S. Census, 31.4% of families in Terrell County remain below the poverty level where the median household income (in 2009 inflation -adjusted dollars) is $26,723. While the county is comprised of about 60.7% African Americans and 37.9% Whites, there is a small growing Latino or Hispanic community (1.2%) noted, with 3.4% of these Latino families speaking another language other than English in their homes. These data when compare to previous Census data show growth in the number of poor minority families in the area. As a matter of fact, while overall the Terrell County population is declining the percentage of poor and minority families in the county are up by +3.61% over the past five years.
Adult literacy also remains a problem in Terrell County. According to the 2005-2009 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates Report (U.S. Census) nearly 40% of Terrell County's citizens over 25 years old do not have a high school diploma and only 10.1% have a bachelor's degree. Roughly 56.1% of this population is reported to be in the labor force. However the per capital income (in 2009 inflation-adjusted dollars) is reported to be $15,550. Thus, while slightly more than half of the county's citizens are in the work force, minimum wage salaries and total household income yield Title I data that reports 83.39% of the children in the school system and 88.73% of students specifically at Carver Elementary School are eligible for the Free-and Reduced Lunch Program. Additionally, many jobs for this community are about 23+ miles away in the town of Albany, Georgia. Thus, these families desperately need quality after-school programs to ensure quality homework assistance and the safety of their children who otherwise come home to unsupervised empty house.
The first year of the program included 50 children, as it now serves over 250 children, kindergarten through high school students and their families. Enrichment activities include nutrition and physical wellness, parent appreciation, community activities, performing arts, Christmas program and activities, Ignorance is No Defense A Teenager's Guide to Ga Law, culture Fridays, homework assistance and others.
A partnership with ABAC, the students visited the museum and historic village, participating and observing many things such as:
• Farm to school program for local distribution of their crops for healthier eating habits, learned about the food pyramid, how to read food labels, comparing to fast food nutrition and calorie content.
• Tour the village and participated in watched how life was like 100 years ago, how they ground the meal into grits, taking care of live stock and other farm animals.Just In Time For Christmas program foster community spirit and giving back to the community. All donated items are assembled by the students into bags, decorated, and given to families in need. Children attending all sites are served a healthy snack and a well balance nutritious supper meal before going home at the end of a long day. PDYC continues to seek support to provide more needed assistant to a small community.
Contact or visit our web: dawsonyouthcenter.com
514 Oak St/P O Box 402 Dawson, GA 39842
Fax 229 995 3462 phone 229 995 6251