Great things are happening at the 14th Street Community Center this summer. They started with their second annual fund raiser, Soul Food & Music Festival which was held on June 2, followed by the registration for summer outreach program on June 4.
At the Soul Food & Music Festival fundraiser, they had entertainment from The African Drummers, who gave an amazing performance, according to those in attendance. While patrons enjoyed ribs, fried and baked chicken, greens, corn, green beans, Mac and cheese, Mary’s rolls, cake, and soft drinks, the violin students played. Elizabeth Scott, the volunteer violin teacher, said the class will recess during the summer. When class resumes this fall, there will be several openings for children fourth grade and up. Classes are free and violins are provided. Interested parents are invited to contact the center. After the violins, accompanied by Makena White, Elizabeth Scott played guitar and sang, including music from her recently released album, “Epiphany.” The emcee was Drew Carter and treasurer Leanne Johnson, headed up the fundraising effort. Orville Ferguson, board president, welcomed those attending and introduced new board members.
Anyone missing the event and desiring to contribute is invited to send a check to 14th Street Community Center c/o Leanne Johnson, WesBanco, 924 Gallia Street, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662. The Center works to keep kids off drugs.
The 14th Street currently has, off site, “Watch Me Grow,” which is a Youth Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Program with Carter and Johnson and others who work with the kids and their own garden.
Another program the Community Center has going on, is the Summer Outreach Program with Program Coordinator, Corey Allison at the helm. Allison said they registered approximately 240 kids for the program with an average of about 120 every day. They have staff that is hired out through the Counseling Center and also have the grandparent program with grandparents to assist them, after they have been approved through the Counseling Center.
The fundraisers for the Summer Outreach program is the Celebrity Chief Dinner and the Counseling Center has a 5K run. This run is to be this Saturday, June 23. The Natural High 5K is a fundraising event to benefit the Summer Outreach Club, free for kids age 5- 12 in Scioto County and beyond. The camp offers free breakfast and lunch, and daily motivational, recreational and educational activities by partnering with community agencies and volunteers, who share hands-on learning activities, teach classes, mentor, and support campers while they participate in park outings, library and museum visits, swimming and daily activities such as working in the community garden.
Some of the things that Allison said they have planned for the summer are programs that they set-up with different venues and groups. They have a program that they are set-up with the museum, one with the Cirque D’ Art, and another with the Portsmouth City Library. A most unique and interesting program they have is with the Portsmouth Cinemas, where the kids have to present a paragraph book report and that is their admission into the movies. “This helps keep the kids more engaged and interested in reading comprehension, trying to pick up on that summer reading loss,” said Allison. Then with Scioto Soil and Conservation where they do a gardening club for the kids. They have a garden that is right down the street from the 14th Street Community Center. Allison continued, “With that same program, we partnered with Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park, we are going to take a hike out there, and do some canoeing and archery for the older kids, plus do some introduction of fishing.
The way they get kids to these things is through vans, that some local churches donate for them to use. Allison said they also go to the McKinley Pool, when it opens, but for now, “We do a water day, they love that day too.” Another activity the Outreach kids do is with Shawnee State University and the planetarium and added this year they are set-up with Shawnee State Gaming Club, “this is where the kids can do some things with the computer systems where they make games, which will give them something to look forward to, and get the kids engaged for their future, said Allison. The Summer Outreach program began June 4th and will end August the 3rd, for a total of nine weeks. Allison added, “The last week, SOMC will come out and do a health and wellness program that we have in the park, and the fire department will come out.”
Finally, Allison said, “We plan two field trips, one is for our five through eight year olds to a water park, either in Columbus or Cincinnati, for this, we get a charter bus. The big kids ages 9-12, will go the following day. Allison was the program coordinator for Summer Outreach last year also. He said that he had done this, in Toledo for the past 15 years. He is a graduate of Shawnee State University, with a degree in Social Sciences.
One other thing that is going on at the 14th Street Community Center, is Creative Process classes for ages 15+, by Nick Sherman. The classes are held on Tuesdays, June 19, and 26, plus July 3, 10, & 17.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928