Center moves to new location

WARREN – The United Methodist Community Center has found a new location at First United Methodist Church, 309 N. Park Ave.

An official farewell to the old location was held last week at the former Rebecca Williams Center, 760 Main Ave. S.W., before the official welcome to the new site.

Juanita Pasley, executive director of the center, said the new location is more centralized, noting it’s across the street from Jobs and Family Services, One Stop and the Veterans Commission.

“Our clientele has tripled since we moved here. We look forward to being able to expand our services. … It is my vision to make this a training site for manufacturing jobs so people can come here and get trained for jobs coming to the area,” Pasley said.

She said the center will continue its mission to teach and empower residents.

Bob Faulkner, president of the UMCC board of directors, said he was excited about the move.

”We just left the location that was established in 1922 and are now moving to a new location that has the same mission and vision the women who started it,” Faulkner said.

The Rev. Rick Oaks, pastor of First United Methodist Church, said the move is bittersweet since so many lives have been touched at the former center.

“We are taking a foundation and building on it in a new way. This has all been about the people. The center will bring hope and resources into the lives of people,” he said.

Mayor Doug Franklin said the center provides a great partnership with the city and schools.

“I am so enlightened and inspired by what I see here. This center has been a foundation to try and teach. This is a new day and a new beginning,” he said.

Bridget Cabrera, executive national ministries with the United Methodist Women’s national office, came to the dedication from New York.

She said the United Methodist Women have been a strong partner with the center for a long time on both the national and local levels.

“I applaud your courage to step out on this endeavor. Keep your focus like you have on the people in your community and the mission and the vision. This has ensured your success,” Cabrera said.

”Your commitment to your community is apparent in your willingness to take risks and leap out take that step,” she said.

The center offers programs to help veterans ,while also providing summer day camp for students with academic enrichment and character education.

There is also ready workforce programs, job skills assessment, computer training, food distribution, juvenile / adult shoplifting alternative program, a women’s book discussion program, and health screenings and assessments.

Pasley said a $30,000 technology grant will allows for more programs and a $4,000 grant will be used to update the center’s website.

For more information, call the center at 330-373-6480.