Written by: Becky Reinhart
While monitoring the sign-in table at the Shaw Community Center recently, a couple of the young men coming in to play basketball thanked me for letting them use the space; I was caught off guard, because I really don’t deserve any of the thanks! I would like to pass along all of the gratitude to those neighbors who have donated their money or time, whether in small or large ways, the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association for taking us seriously and making our mission part of theirs, and the St. Louis Public Schools for allowing us free access to the building.
Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our neighbors, the Shaw Community Center has raised a total of $4,690 in individual donations. This has enabled us to fulfill our commitment to Shaw youth to provide a safe, fun place for recreation all summer long! We are especially floored by the generosity of two anonymous donors, who collectively contributed $3,500 to our efforts. The addition of the $2,000 Helping Hands Grant we will soon receive from SNIA will further cement our longevity.
Funding, however, would have been irrelevant were it not for the support of the St. Louis Public Schools. The school district went above and beyond to ensure our access to the space. Even though the building should have been completely closed for deep cleaning between June 25 and the August 17, they worked with us to reduce the time of the gym and cafeteria being closed to three weeks (July 25-August 17). Although strapped for cash themselves, the district expends personnel time each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to ensure our youth can access the gym. If you wish, you may contact Stacy Clay (our contact person with SLPS) to say thanks and let him know how much the district’s support means to our neighborhood.
It’s been a humbling experience for our team to see all of the doors that have opened for us just by our asking. All of this support reveals that we aren’t the only ones who see the Shaw Community Center as a necessity. We now see this as a long-term project, and with the support of our neighbors, neighborhood association, and school district, we know we can follow through!
Note: As of August 2018 the Shaw Community Center is now open Monday through Friday from 6:30-8:30pm. Both the gym and cafeteria are open for basketball, coloring, games, and more. All are welcome! It is located in the community education wing of Mullanphy ILC; entrance is on the west side of the building through door #6.