Liverpool’s East Region Community and Learning Center | News, Sports, Jobs
The East Liverpool area community and learning center first opened in May 2016. It has been open seven days a week for more than five years, although it was forced to close briefly at the end of 2021 by COVID-19.
Most of the centre’s volunteers are retired, but a few find the time to help out at the center while continuing with their regular jobs. The centre’s first volunteers were Bill and Donna Gray. The Grays collect and give lectures on locally produced pottery. They spent months renovating an old church dining room into an exhibition hall for only part of their extensive collection of Harker pottery. Today, it is still the highlight of the exhibition for visitors to the Community & Learning Center.
The two Grays have since served in turn as volunteers on the board of directors of the HHH Foundation which oversees the operations of the center. There are 12 volunteer board members. They are David Conley, Steven Cooper, Donna Gray, Darlene Kinsey / Johnston, Charles Lang, Jim Lewis, Linda Henderson, William Miller, Mike Parkes and Roger Sanford and most recently Don Jones and Michael Stenger. Half were original directors.
On September 14, the center held the premiere of a six-part Legacy & Legends lecture series featuring local author Gary Cornell in the Farmers Room. Cornell spoke about his most recent book titled “Unearthed.” Future conferences are scheduled for Tuesday evenings starting October 12 with columnist / humorist Fred Miller. On November 16, the topic will be the East Liverpool Carnegie Library with Director Melissa Persic as presenter.
The second half of the lecture series begins on April 12, 2022 when attendees explore Newell’s Laurel Hollow Park, and on May 10, Marcus and Ki Trelaine will talk about the challenges of renovating their historic Wells property in Newell Heights. Finally, June 14 will be the story of The Hall China Company, the last pottery maker in operation in East Liverpool. These conferences are an important source of income to help cover the running costs of the center and have brought in $ 6,000 this year.
At its quarterly board meeting on October 11, the board will receive a progress report on the roof of the main building, accept a large endowment donation on behalf of Mary Sue Lang and consider investing these funds. They will also elect its leaders. They will also vote to accept the donation of hundreds of classic films collected by Scott Kidd. As a volunteer, Kidd ran a Thursday movie night that took place in the surround cinema, big screen in the center. The board of directors will vote to name the theater in honor of Kidd.
The centre’s front desk volunteers greet clients, organize tours, take phone calls, schedule events, explain the many exhibits, show tenants their rental spaces, open and close the center daily in accordance with the Volunteer Manual. The security contractor Greg and his wife Brandy are the only people compensated at the center.
Some hospitality volunteers have served at the center since its inception. In order of seniority for these volunteers, they are Bill and Donna Gray, Jim Lewis, Charles Lang, Tracy Adkins, Ruth Woodyard, Fred and Linda Henderson, Mike Parkes, Gay Ann Mossman, Don Jones, Mike and Connie Stenger, Betty Patterson, Becky Lang, Rex and Sally Haynes of Chester and Greg Rayburn.
The center is always on the lookout for additional volunteers who enjoy meeting people and helping with their needs. It only requires a brief training. Applications are available at the center at 110 Maine Blvd. next to East Liverpool High School.
Due to the number and variety of rooms, there has been a wide variety of learning opportunities offered at the center. There have been tap dancing lessons, fly throwing, ballroom dancing, Spanish lessons, knitting, gardening and twirling, piano lessons to name a few. The sponsors pay nothing for the use of the center and offer important activities to the participants.
Currently, free art lessons for children are offered every Monday afternoon. Students learn to paint in oils and watercolors, draw and create pottery artwork on a real pottery wheel. Margaret Myers is a full-time art teacher at East Liverpool Middle School and she donates her time and talents to open young minds to new ways of expressing themselves. Classes are open to all children in the tri-state area. Art classes for adults are also available by appointment.
Renee Anne Stewart, another regularly employed volunteer who volunteers her time, administers the centre’s web page which can be accessed by phone or computer by entering the name of the center. It has become the best source of information about the center and is presented in a nifty and interesting way. It has been a good source of many locations in the center for celebrations of all kinds and also to attract visitors from outside the city.
Many volunteer clubs and service organizations make the center their home while carrying out important activities in the community. Three service clubs now meet there including the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Kiwanis. Three recovery courses are organized at the center each week led by dedicated facilitators. Dedicated community volunteers lead a pack of Cubs that meet there on Monday evenings and organize events. Guardians of the Children is a motorcycle club of about 30 people who are chartered to serve abused children working with the justice system. The Guardians have their own room in the center and they sponsor many activities for the children.
The Fitzjohn Foundation Volunteer Council, chaired by Michelle Bernardi, meets at the center quarterly to plan and award music scholarships to high school and college students wishing to continue their education and music lessons. Scholarships are available for students throughout the tri-state region.
A group of former members of the East Liverpool High School group meets on Monday evening in the Central Auditorium to prepare for the area’s parades. The public is invited to come and listen to their music. In the past, the majorettes of the alumni band preparing for parades in the area have held their practices in the dining hall.
The centre’s charter states that it is a place where people meet to help each other while giving their own talents and time to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors. If you have something to share with others and are looking for an outlet to do so, contact the Community Center any day between noon and 5 p.m. or call 330-303-2110 to volunteer.