SMITHFIELD - After the untimely death of Kara Bright in 2005, steps were taken by a team of his close friends to fulfill a dream that he held in his heart for many years. His "Field of Dreams" had been to turn his farm, located on county Road 15, outside of Smithfield, into a Christian place for youth and adults.
In 1997, Bright invited a group of his friends to join him in creating Brightway Center.
Now, 15 years later, Daryle Griffin, president and CEO, has outlined recent accomplishments.
SHOWING OFF PLANS — Daryle Griffin, left, Brightway Center president and CEO, and George Stack, board member, show off plans for Brightway back in 2010. Much progress has been accomplished with the plans since that time, and now an open house is being held for visitors to become acquainted with its programs and facilities. The event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 15. -- Esther McCoy
"Time sure does fly when you are having fun, and for Brightway, this year flew by," he said.
Those accomplishments have included "Kara's Kids," a group of young people who meet on Thursdays to deal with teen issues. The attendance rate has gone up this year, according to Griffin.
"Teen Dating Violence Prevention" a teen anti-bullying program, has skyrocketed in attendance rates throughout the year.
"Shoes and Sox for Souls" had a goal for collecting 50 pair of shoes to give to those in need. But the goal was far exceeded when 162 pairs of shoes and 324 pairs of socks were received.
"The Financial Literacy Program," featuring board member Christ Holmes, talked to youth about managing money and saving money and taught them how to balance a checkbook in one program.
The breast cancer seminar, featuring Vicki Hogan, guest speaker, doubled the number of visitors that were expected. Kara's Kids helped this program, it was noted, and a substantial amount of money was raised and donated by friends, businesses and organizations was raised.
Casey Robinson, Smithfield police department member and a certified cardiopulmonary resuscitation trainer will be offering CPR certification at the center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $15 and Cathy Takach, project manager, can be contacted at (740) 733-7480 for reservations. There will be snacks provided.
Nancy Grim has joined the staff as development officer. She received her bachelor's degree in health services administration with a minor in interpersonal communications at Ohio University. She has been involved in various programs and organizations serving Jefferson County.
In addition to having extensive experience in grant writing, grant review, conference planning and development, she served as executive director of the United Way of Jefferson County.
The long-anticipated activity center, which will host countless programs, workshops and events, is nearing completion and is anticipated to be finished by early next year.
Now that the Christmas season is approaching, Brightway Center is hosting its first open house. This will be a time when the public can see all that has been accomplished during the past year and enjoy refreshments and prizes. It will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 15. For information, contact Takach at (740) 733-7480.