Community Room West End Community Center
The NC62 Leadership Team from WorldLegacy performed an extreme makeover of a Community Room at the West End Community Center as well as educated people on endangered species. Volunteers from as far away as Florida joined more than 50 people for two days of reinvention at the West End Community Center. The volunteers worked alongside residents and teens, which are served by the center, which is located in Durham’s West End and is a part of the Duke University -Durham Neighborhood Partnership. Volunteers stripped away the interior of a former law office and replaced it with bright turquoise paint and striped window shades reminiscent of a tropical scene. The team renovated the center with new chairs, tables, bookcases, original artwork, lighting, and ovens for the kitchen. The team created an endangered species display and conducted a workshop on endangered species. About 75 people — black, white, young and old — attended the Sunday ribbon cutting, which was held on the weekend of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. “It’s one of the greatest feelings we’ve had in a long time. It almost produces tears,” said Juanita McNeil, who used to bring neighborhood children into her home before there was a facility. “Thank you for all the work you put in. I didn’t think it could be done.” The budget was $30,000.
Refurbished Community Room Serves West End Teens
Local residents join effort to spruce up an important resource for the community
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Hard work by volunteers from as far away as Florida brought a new sparkle to the inside of one of Duke’s partner community centers this past weekend. In two and half days, more than 50 people stripped away the boring interior of a former law office that is now the Juanita McNeil-Joseph Alston Community Center and replaced it with bright turquoise and green paint and striped window shades reminiscent of a tropical scene.
About 75 people — black, white, young and old — attended the Sunday dedication of the refurbished center on Kent Street.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings we’ve had in a long time. It almost produces tears,” said Juanita McNeil, who used to bring neighborhood children into her home before there was a facility. “Thank you for all the work you put in. I didn’t think it could be done.”
Thirty-two participants in a leadership training seminar offered by The WorldLegacy in Morrisville chose to spearhead the renovation of the center’s community room as their required community service project. They worked alongside residents and teens who are served by the center, which is located in Durham’s West End and is a part of the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership.
The goal of the Neighborhood Partnership is to improve the quality of life in the 12 neighborhoods near campus and to boost student achievement in the seven public schools that serve those neighborhoods. The nonprofit West End Community Center purchased the center in 2000 with $195,000 from the university. Duke also provides annual operating support with help from The Duke Endowment.
Percy Covington, a member of the WorldLegacy team who is a resident of Southwest Central Durham, convinced his team to “adopt” the center. Covington’s aunt, Mary Davis, is the director of the teen center. “I watched the center and always told myself it was holding on by grace,” said Covington, who works at Measurement Inc. “It’s important for any kid to have an environment that is safe and suitable and to have a space to keep them off the streets.”
The tan rooms needed a major face-lift, especially the community service room, which serves as an after-school classroom for students and a meeting place for parents and community members.
The WorldLegacy team solicited chairs, tables and bookcases and artwork from Duke’s Community Affairs Office, as well as numerous other sources. Duke Dining Services, Guglhupf and Fosters provided free food for the volunteers. A local interior designer donated her services. Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers helped with moving services, lights and ovens for the center’s kitchen. Mr. Maid, owned by Glenister Franklin, made the rooms and furniture smell fresh.
“I thought it was particularly fitting that this project took place on the weekend of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration,” said Diana Bello, one of the Legacy participants. “What we did together as a community exemplified what this wonderful man fought and died for.”
Reprinted from Duke University News and Communications, Durham, NC