Strengthening Families finds home


Program opens at Willis Center

By D. Anthony Botkin - abotkin@aimmedianetwork.com



Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for United Way’s Strengthening Families Initiative in the Willis Education Center, people had the chance to tour the new facility now in the historic building. Elizabeth Martinez, left, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Delaware County president, played a game of Uno cards with Kara, 11, and Haley, 14, from Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for United Way’s Strengthening Families Initiative in the Willis Education Center, people had the chance to tour the new facility now in the historic building. Elizabeth Martinez, left, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Delaware County president, played a game of Uno cards with Kara, 11, and Haley, 14, from Big Brothers and Big Sisters.


D. Anthony Botkin | The Gazette

United Way of Delaware County officially opened the Strengthening Families initiative Monday at the Willis Education Center.

“I noticed the other day when I was walking outside of this building, way up near the roof engraved in stone, is a quote, ‘Education adorns riches and softens poverty,’” said Brandon Feller, United Way of Delaware County president. “I think that is still so true today.”

Feller said United Way is committed to helping the community and the organization is approaching it as a collaborative effort, bringing partners together to tackle the issues.

“That’s what the center is really about,” he said. “Getting the community together, collaborating around the issues, focusing on data, and focusing on results.”

Feller said United Way is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, Delaware City Schools, Delaware Speech and Hearing Center, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, and the Liberty Community Center.

“The United Way of Delaware County is thrilled to be making our Strengthening Families home at the Willis Education Center,” Feller said. “This new initiative will bring the community together to encourage and support Delaware County children and families so they can learn, grow and thrive creating opportunities for success and lives lived to their fullest potential.”

The Willis building was built in 1883 and is also home to Delaware City Schools administrative offices.

Strengthening Families’ new space is geared toward serving children from birth to age 5 and providing children in sixth through eighth grades with after-school programs.

“We have five rooms here to offer,” said Kelsey Fox, United Way collective impact specialist. “Our office, our toy lending library, our mental health drop-in center, our teen room and STEM room.”

Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, said she was excited about the success and the future of Strengthening Families.

“Education is so important,” Taylor said, “Education is just not what you get in a formal setting of a school, but the other education is important that you’ll provide outside of the classroom. The mission you have taken on is such an important priority. It will be a benefit for the children and the community you serve here.”

Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for United Way’s Strengthening Families Initiative in the Willis Education Center, people had the chance to tour the new facility now in the historic building. Elizabeth Martinez, left, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Delaware County president, played a game of Uno cards with Kara, 11, and Haley, 14, from Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/07/web1_DSC_4172F.jpgBefore the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for United Way’s Strengthening Families Initiative in the Willis Education Center, people had the chance to tour the new facility now in the historic building. Elizabeth Martinez, left, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Delaware County president, played a game of Uno cards with Kara, 11, and Haley, 14, from Big Brothers and Big Sisters. D. Anthony Botkin | The Gazette
Program opens at Willis Center

By D. Anthony Botkin

abotkin@aimmedianetwork.com

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.