The Rest of the Story was a feature made famous by Paul Harvey in his radio broadcasts, as he filled in the blanks of the lives of famous people. I would like to tell the rest of the story of the “Three Years and Counting” article on the Kroc Center in the Aug. 10 Augusta Chronicle.
Recently I was talking to someone from a small town in central Georgia as she boasted about a famous Christian ministry headquartered in her hometown that added so much to the “wonderful family atmosphere of the village.” Not long ago I was listening to a recovering drug addict who talked about how bad the drug problems were in his hometown. “Meth is everywhere” he stated.
The interesting thing is that they both were talking about the same town.
It all depends on what you’re looking for.
THE SALVATION ARMY’S Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center stands as one of the beacons of hope in the Harrisburg neighborhood. The Kroc Center has created more than 100 job opportunities in the community, and job growth is one of the hallmarks to any neighborhood transformation. Many Harrisburg residents are grateful for a safe and fun facility for children and young adults.
We also strive to keep youths off the streets and in our open-gym basketball, volleyball and futsal (indoor soccer) programs, part of the variety of league sports that are offered at the Kroc Center.
So many have lost weight, lowered blood pressure and achieved a higher level of fitness and health. As the article pointed out, more than 1,600 adults and children have learned to swim, and lifeguarding classes are an education staple. We also offer a wide variety of programs and classes for everyone from children to seniors.
The Kroc Center has grown and changed with the community as we see a need, or to meet a demand. We can’t do everything we would like; the demands of space and funding limit us like anyone else. The economy still has businesses in cities across the nation holding back from major growth. Although Augusta has fared better than many – thanks to Georgia Regents University; Fort Gordon’s growth; and an active Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority – Augusta and Harrisburg still have tremendous potential. Having a Kroc Center will be a major incentive and asset in encouraging the renovation of Sibley Mill across the canal from us.
TRANSFORMATION, LIKE losing weight, takes determination, time and willpower.
We still have plans to grow and do even more, but we have been entrusted with this magnificent center, and must continue the upkeep and serve the community the best we can. We strive every day to keep it as clean, safe and well-maintained as the day we opened, as well as offer a wide range of fitness, health, spiritual enrichment and educational programs. The Kroc Center offers a wide selection of free community events such as a book club; Family Movie Night; the Hip-Hop Bunny Drop; Got 30 Minutes? (a class for Seniors); art exhibitions and “Meet The Artist” receptions; a knitting club; Trunk or Treat; and Medicare and You, a free program for seniors scheduled for Aug. 14.
The Kroc Center, like a Bible in your home, will be transformative only if you use it.
(The writer is director of development for the Salvation Army in Augusta.)