No idle hands here

Published 1:37 am Sunday, October 18, 2009

SELMA — Instead of spending a crisp Saturday morning lounging around the house, 30 students arrived at the GHN4G Outreach Center to build birdhouses and doghouses, or make holiday arts and craft with the Bringing Learning to Life workshop.

“I came here today to do something new, create different things, interact with the young children and give back to the community,” said Crystal Lewis.

Building a doghouse for her pit bull named Muscles, Crystal had fun at the center and plans to come back for more events.

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Debra Towns, president of CHN4G, had a vision about a year ago. After realizing that her father owned an old house in the area, she relocated her youth program with Good Hope Baptist Church in Sardis to here in June 2009.

“By having a closer area to work with them, I was trying to have something that would be beneficiary for everybody,” Towns said.

Slowly renovating the area, Towns and her husband, Sammy Towns rely on funding from the seven board members and a grant from the Black Belt Community Foundation, staff continues to search for grants to expand the building and programming of the center.

Open after school and every other Saturday, the center provides tutoring in math reading and French, as well as guitar, drum and piano lessons. Weekend events vary based on the interest of the students. “If the kids are interested then we wont turn the idea down,” said Nevel Towns, Assistant President of the center. “More or less we want to help keep the kids in the right track.”

The center also offers step classes, praise dancing classes, lock-ins, mime workshop and programming throughout the summer.