Community center opens

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

The New Hope Community Center opened on Franklin Street Thursday morning.

As part of an effort by the New Hope Apostolic Church, the center is a place where all people can go for assistance on any number of issues.

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“We’re going to provide various programs,” said Joe Brown, pastor of the New Hope Church and president of the center. “We’ll be working with senior citizens as well as with the Cahaba Mental Health Center. There will be after school programs, programs for people seeking their GED, computer training, job assessment and training and many other programs.”

Several council members and Mayor James Perkins Jr. were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening.

The value of the center was something that was hard to overstate.

“I think this is wonderful for the city that the community center is here to help people,” said councilwoman Jean T. Martin.

Perkins addressed a gathering of about 20 people and told a story about a rich man that took the time to pick up a penny and thereafter held it as a prized possession.

When asked why such a wealthy man took such pride in a simple penny, he pointed to something that’s beyond monetary value.

“It’s not the value of the penny, but the message ‘In God We Trust’ that’s on it,” Perkins said. “God is doing wonderful and powerful things in Selma. Anyone that saw what was in this spot before knows that. I’m certain somebody’s child or somebody’s parent will be blessed because of this.”

The Rev. Kobi Little was also on hand and gave a $250 donation to go toward the operations of the center.

“It’s important to recognize what Pastor Brown is doing here,” Little said. “New Hope is more than just the name of the center and of the church. He’s giving hope to this community.”

The center got off the ground fairly quickly. After three months of planning, it took three more months to build. Currently, there are three volunteer workers.

Director Annie Alexander said the doors would not be closed to anyone seeking aid.

“We expect the Lord to bless us. We don’t have a limit on the number of people we’ll help,” Alexander said. “We want the community to feel free to come in when they have problems or if there’s some type of assistance they need.”

This is one more step in the growth, not just of the Franklin Street community, but also of Selma as a whole.

“This is a great thing for the community,” said Councilwoman Jannie Venter. “It’s for everybody – young, old and in between. It’s one of the greatest things that could happen for our citizens.”

For more information, contact Alexander at 877-1123 or 877-1113.