HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (11/19/11)—Over 40 percent of the youth in Hopkins County are considered obese and many more are considered inactive, spending less than 30 minutes outside each day. Couple this with the fact that a high number of young individuals are getting in trouble with the law, which may be due in part to a lack of positive opportunities overall, and it becomes clear that our region could benefit from an active, positivity-based community center open to all races and beliefs.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what several upstanding and motivated people in our county are working toward at this very moment. In fact, those involved with the project have even formed a partnership focused on making the community center a reality by early next year, but it’s going to take the support of everyone in our community to make it a success.
Composed of a nearly 13-year Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department (HCSD) employee and Hopkins County native, Deputy LyDon Logan (seen at far right), a supportive and experienced grant writer, Connie Pullam (seen in middle), and members of both the African American Unity and Rosenwald-Smith Multicultural Center organizations, the partnership is currently working on the refurbishment of several areas (the gymnasium and 3 classrooms) in Madisonville’s historic Rosenwald High School/Rosenwald-Smith Multi-Cultural Center on North Kentucky Ave.
Once renovations have been completed, the community center will be known as the "B.R.I.C.K,” which stands for “Bringing Role-models In-line with Community Kids.”
To find out more on what inspired the BRICK project, what the center will offer, what they hope to achieve, and how people can show their support, SurfKY News met with both Deputy Logan and Pullam inside the Rosenwald School building on Friday night, November 18th.
“As a youth growing up in Madisonville, I remember going to a neighborhood youth center—the Warren Davis Community Center—after school for about one year, but that soon shut down,” says Deputy Logan. “While attending, I remember participating in a free judo class, youth dances, and playing arcade games. Shortly after that, another community center—the Larry Carney Center—opened up in the neighborhood. After school, I would go to the Carney Center and play basketball, ping-pong, pool, and would relax and watch television. During the summertime, I would participate in the summer program where they would feed us, take us to the swimming pool, and would have public service workers talk to us about their jobs. Even though this didn’t seem like much, it kept me and other youth out of trouble and occupied our time. Today, the idea of creating something like this weighs heavy on my heart, so that’s a big part of why we all decided to get involved.”
In addition to the positive influence community centers had on Deputy Logan’s life as a youth, he also says that his position with the HCSD and the crime he deals with only strengthens the drive to make the new BRICK center a reality.
“On a daily basis with my job as a Hopkins County Deputy Sheriff, I see many youths out walking the streets and going through the court system simply because there is nowhere to go or anything to keep them off the streets,” says Deputy Logan. “This holds true to the saying, ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ I fully believe that a community center in Hopkins County would help keep our youth from committing crimes and would allow them to be productive.”
Though the BRICK partnership has garnered support from several area businesses and organizations so far, Pullam says that she is also working toward the procurement of a private sector grant that will be used for renovations as well.
Once the gymnasium and the adjacent classrooms have been repaired, both Pullam and Deputy Logan say that they will be able to offer a variety of services and entertainment, including, but not limited to, college tours for area Juniors and Seniors, sports leagues, dance parties, tutoring for middle/high school students, arts & crafts, fitness classes, anti-bullying workshops, drug awareness programs, and much more.
While the gymnasium will be utilized for athletics, community events, fine arts, rentals, and more, Deputy Logan explains what each of the classrooms will serve the center in the following capacities: a classroom for tutoring, seminars, and other educational purposes; a break-room with games, vending machines, couches, and more; and an exercise room complete with weights and training/aerobic equipment.
Both Deputy Logan and Pullam, as well as other members in the partnership, offer the folliwng in regard to the partnership’s overall mission: “To enrich, enlighten, empower, educate, strengthen, and unite the youth and adults of Hopkins County by providing them with a strong, positive environment with access to various programs in education, tutoring, physical fitness training, goal setting and personal development provided in a safe, violence and drug free community center. Our vision for the BRICK center reflects the diversity of the community, our want for a partnership with the community, and the promotion of excellence for all those in Hopkins County regardless of religion, race, or age.”
While the partnership has gained momentum in relation to long-term vision and support, the group is still looking for help in achieving their mission, and they are asking for the community’s help.
In addition to seeking volunteers to help with the project and the relating renovations, the partnership is also seeking monetary donations through an account an Hancock Bank and Trust in Madisonville.
For those wishing to give to the project financially, Deputy Logan says to visit Hancock Bank at 2420 N. Main St. and ask for Customer Service Representative Sarah Wix. From there, simply ask about donating to the BRICK community center project account. You may also contact Hancock Bank and Sarah Wix by phone at (270) 643-3612.
In addition, those wishing to donate wood are encouraged to visit Cummens Lumber Co. at 1705 Grapevine Road in Madisonville. Once there, simply make out a check to the BRICK Community Center with “wood” written in the memo line.
What’s more, those who are involved in the completion of the BRICK community center—be it volunteers, businesses/groups, or individuals who give monetary donations—will be honored by name or affiliation on a large banner kept within the community center once it’s completed.
At this time, the BRICK partnership is hoping to have the renovations completed and the community center operational by February 2011.
As the BRICK community center progresses, look to SurfKY News for the latest updates, photos, and related interviews.
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