WEIRTON - The Weirton Christian Center and the Journey Project recently held an appreciation dinner for Weirton's elected officials and civil servants.
The dinner, held at the Serbian American Cultural Center, also was in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Officials in attendance included Mayor George Kondik, Ward 4 Councilman George Ash, Ward 2 Councilman Chuck Wright, Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh, Fire Chief Jerry Shumate and members of the Weirton Fire Department.
Pictured are many of the local officials and students from the Weirton Christian Center who attended a recent appreciation dinner at the Serbian American Cultural Center. -- Contributed
Tabetha Henderson, a third-year AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the Christian Center, coordinated the effort as one of her service projects. The project was made possible through a mini-grant from the West Virginia Business Volunteer Council, which was to encourage partnerships between for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations for the good of the community.
Lauttamus Communications of Weirton provided the financial match for the grant and the Serbian American Cultural Center provided training by their servers, as volunteers.
The middle school students at the Christian Center participate in Henderson's nutrition and fitness programs, and cook and serve dinner at the center for everyone on Tuesdays.
They also volunteer at the Table of Hope to serve each Friday, accompanied by volunteers Essie Snyder and Kathy Arango.
According to Executive Director Kim Weaver, "Our hope for these children is to provide the life skills education and experiences necessary to make them well-rounded, capable, successful adults who want to make a difference in their community."
Besides Henderson, there we other volunteers recognized who serve the Christian Center, including Tamera Jennings, a parent volunteer who has been instrumental in the SSA computer distribution, the organization of the center's donations and day to day operations. Duke and Barbara Snyder were in attendance and they have been working with the middle school students in Bible Study for the past few years.
Joan Andrews has provided the children with clothing and volunteers at the center three days each week, and for special events. She was one of the four board members in attendance, including Janet Stagani who has served in many ways for more than 30 years, as well as Sue Marsh, who also takes children to the Weirton Geriatric Center, and Amanda Mesler, one of the Christian Center's newest board members who has been a willing worker since she started.
Jack Thayer, represented First Choice Community Credit Union which has been a partner in Christian Center programs for years. Olivia Carter, who has been making a difference in the lives of children at the Dunbar Recreation Center for decades, brought with her volunteers from Dunbar and several children. Steve and Heidi Psaros of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, with the men of A.H.E.P.A. and ladies of Philoptochos Society, have been partners in providing for Christian Center children and encouraging volunteerism by inviting the children to serve at the Greek Festival last summer.
Staff members attending were Assistant Director Deronda Bruich, Cathy Anderson, Charlene Anderson, Jason Cline and Brittany McAllister.
Mayor George Kondik challenged the children to, "Look up the word character in the dictionary and read its meaning when you get home. That is what you are building by what you are doing tonight."