Volunteers in North Bryan put on their work gloves Saturday in honor of National Day of Service to help begin the makeover process of the old Gateway Community Service building to ready for some new tenants.
Those tenants, Bryan County Family Connection (BCFC) and United Way of Bryan County, hope to establish a service center in the North Bryan area, much like the service center in Richmond Hill that opened in August.
“I’m excited to have the building. Most people avoid duplication of services, but we strive for it because of the distance between each end of the county,” said BCFC Director Wendy Sims. “We are excited to have all (North Bryan) services contained to one building. We just have to figure out the logistics.”
Sims said Gateway Behavioral Health Services in October vacated the building, which is owned by the county. While discussions about allowing the organizations to use the building began in September, the county formally announced in December BCFC and United Way could use the space.
“I really want to thank the board of commissioners because it means they think what we’re doing is important,” she said. “We truly are working with other organizations to build a better Bryan.”
Sims said BCFC chose the project for National Day of Service because it’s the biggest and newest project going on with the organization.
“After today, National Day of Service may be over, but our services won’t end,” Sims said. “We’ll be here until the building is complete and finished, and that’s just the beginning.”
Sims said the building, which boasts several office spaces, a meeting room, kitchen and more, will hopefully house the United Way of Bryan County office and BCFC offices, as well as provide meeting spaces for groups such as Helen’s Haven, energy assistance and the Community Action Association that aren’t based in the county.
Former Pembroke mayor Judy Cook was one of the volunteers on hand Saturday. She was helping remove wallpaper and doing some cleaning. Cook, who volunteers with many BCFC and United Way programs, said she was very excited about the building.
“This is a one-stop place where all the things the community would need to help them is right here under one roof,” she said. “They can come to this facility and be able to get help with whatever it is they may need. It’s a very positive thing — we’ve waited for a long time for a building like this to provide services to the North Bryan area.”
Read more in the Jan. 23 edition of the News.