Putting “Community” at the forefront of Community Center
Nothing unifies a community like understanding; understanding one another, understanding the importance of health and learning and understanding the value of place.
One place that provides the space for different levels of community understanding is the Jones Center in Springdale, Arkansas, which offers residents fitness activities and health education classes, as well as language classes, health screenings and community events for all ages.
The Jones Center infuses innovative education with healthy living by offering children and their parents a place to exercise and learn, use free walking trails and receive free health screenings. The Center also helps build community and understanding by providing community education classes and English and Spanish classes for the area’s growing Hispanic population, as well as for those wanting to connect to the broader community.
Families also have an opportunity to attend the Summer Youth Academy, a seven week program that immerses children in team-based learning exercises around art, music and science. But the focus isn’t just on children and their parents; the Senior Life Center offers social events like dancing, bingo and card games.
Through grants from the Foundation for the Mid South, the Center was able to expand two free, noncredit adult learning programs in northwest Arkansas, establishing a community resource that wasn’t there before.
“We are constantly looking for partners who align with our priorities and serve a broad cross-section of the population,” says Ivye Allen, President of the Foundation for the Mid South. “The Jones Center, as a primary provider of education and health services to all people in Northwest Arkansas, is a perfect partner for us. The Center is effectively meeting the needs of the people in the region and is a driving force for community improvement.”
By creating a bridge for Latino families adjusting to life in America, and by providing a resource for patrons of every age and interest throughout Northwest Arkansas, the Center has become a staple in the community.
“The needs of families and children are great and getting greater in Benton and Washington Counties,” said Rick McCullough, Executive Director of The Jones Center. “We are expanding our services and outreach to ensure The Jones Center is helping more people feel like they belong, they have the tools necessary to succeed, and they can enjoy the American Dream.”