Danville Area Community Center
Without the United Way, the old YMCA on Ferry Street would not have been able to survive in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. The same is true of the DACC. In 1991 when I became the director, the $39,000 our Center received from United Way was a lifeline. It still is today. It’s very difficult to be a stand-alone non-profit in a small population area that offers no municipal support to community facilities. Despite the challenges, the DACC offers sponsored membership at no cost to those who demonstrate a need.
Several years ago Mrs. Smith (not her name) wrote me a letter sharing how much she appreciated the sponsorship the DACC had approved for her and her four children for the last several years for herself and her four children. Now, she explained, she would no longer need the assistance because she had completed her degree and she had married and her family no longer needed a sponsorship. They have been DACC members ever since.
Mrs. Jones came to the desk at the DACC with three little boys to request a sponsorship for her eight year-old son so he could play Junior Basketball. I knew she was the mother of five boys and her husband was a local minister. After I read her application and saw she had applied for only the child, I asked to speak with her and said, “Wouldn’t you like all of the children to be members?” “That’s too much to ask,” she said.
Because they qualified for the family sponsorship, I simply approved the Family Memberhship. “All of your children will enjoy swimming, won’t they?” I asked.
With tears in her eyes, she said, “This is so generous. Thank you so much.” The family of boys were enthusiastic members until they moved to a permanent church in another area of Pennsylvania.
While we typically fund youth and family sponsorships, we do occasionally have a senior person who asks for assistance. One senior lady comes to mind. During her working years, she had always been a member of the DACC. When she became ill and had to retire, she was devastated when she learned that her health insurance would no longer pay for her membership. The DACC was happy to include her as a sponsored member and she attends fitness classes regularly because she is determined to regain her health.
I do not have photos of these folks. We don’t tell anyone someone is a sponsored member. That’s between them and us. In this community of “haves” and “have nots,” that’s an important distinction.
Danville is very lucky to have a community center with an indoor pool. Thirty years of work to establish a financial base has not been successful because the “base” is always shifting. At the Danville Area Community Center we are incredibly appreciative of the support of our United Way and look forward to helping the Board of Directors to continue to build the community support that will provide the necessary funding for our community non-profits.
Jean Knouse, DACC Executive Director
In April 2010, a single man came to Gatehouse with two children after getting out of an abusive relationship. Over his time there, he saw people come and go. The people who came always got the help they needed, whether it be just a place to stay or advanced medical care. Around October 2010, the director informed everyone that Gatehouse would be shutting down at the end of December that year. Many interviews were done with residents and published in the local newspapers in the hopes of generating support and raising money to keep Gatehouse open and running. Before the end of December, the director stepped down and the board of directors worked very hard to be able to keep Gatehouse open. It was very obvious to everyone that a place like that was needed, and many people who had nowhere else to go were able to come to Gatehouse to get help. After all of this, the president of the board came to the man, Kerry Dennis, Sr., and asked him to continue living in Gatehouse as the House Steward. Because of this, he was able to purchase a vehicle that he desperately needed and continued to be in charge of the daily operations at Gatehouse from May 2011 until January 2012. Many improvements were made to the facility under the care of a new director. They even built a new playground for the children. Due to the work of the director, many people were able to transition out of Gatehouse and back into the community. Former residents were able to buy houses and many of them were getting custody of their children back. On January 27th, 2012, Kerry was able to secure housing and move out of Gatehouse as well.
“I can truly say that because of Gatehouse, the board of directors, and Mr. Dougher, I am in a better place than what I would have been in if not for them. Because of staying at Gatehouse in Danville, I met my girlfriend who is now my fiancee and made many new friends. I also believe that even though it is a very hard thing for a child/teenager to go through, it was a great experience for my children in the end. It showed that homeless people are not what you see on TV, dressed in raggedy clothes, pushing a shopping cart and sleeping under newspapers. They are people you see in church, at the grocery store, in school, etc. The community has been amazing with its help for Gatehouse. Again, I cannot thank the community, board of directors, and Mr. Dougher enough for what they provide and do for Gatehouse. I look forward to the continued friendship and relationship with Gatehouse.”
-Kerry Dennis Sr.
Central Susquehanna Sight Services
A letter recently arrived from Busy Little Beavers Child Care, which made us feel really good about the work we do.
“It is with a very grateful heart that I am writing to you today. I have had the pleasure of having your staff come to my center each year to conduct vision screenings on my children here. This year, one of my children, a little girl who was born prematurely and whom I have had since she was 5 weeks old, failed her screening. As it turned out, the screening revealed a cataract in her left eye – a very recent one, but it is progressing rapidly (family history). The doctor told the little girl’s mother that if it were not for that screening, by the time it would have been caught, it more than likely would have been too late to treat and she would have definitely lost her vision in that eye. As it turns out, because of Central Susquehanna Sight Services, she is having an immediate operation and will be fine and able to see out of her left eye!
I simply wanted to write and thank your service for helping one of my families. I can only imagine how many others you help as well.”
Jennifer Enterline, Director
Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA
DANVILLE — Daisies have planted flowers to beautify Danville borough.
Five members of Daisy Girl Scout Troop 30510, of Danville, added potting soil to six boxes to be placed outside the borough building facing Mill Street and to two boxes at the entrance of Danville’s ballroom.
The borough provided the soil and the flowers, said Jackie Hart, borough director of code and building development.
Troop leader Nichole said the girls are working on a badge called Making the World a Better Place. Krista also serves as a leader.
Working on the project Thursday evening were Kamryn, Jenna, Alexis and sisters Izzy and Susie .