Waverly Family Center goes for total involvement

Volunteer/Where good neighbors get together

April 02, 1991|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Evening Sun Staff

THE WAVERLY Family Center goes after complete involvement with its community's needs.

Programs and classes are offered to parents who want to learn in order to help their children, who want a general education diploma (GED) or who need parenting skills. Young ones who are having trouble in school get one-to-one tutoring and much more.

Tutors often go with the parents to meet their children's teachers and discuss needs and progress. They act as advocates for parents by helping them voice concerns to eliminate any intimidation by a professional.

Each week, this non-profit community center at 901 Montpelier St. serves 60 to 80 adults and children. Center director Betsy Krieger says she has a staff of 12, almost all of them part time and more than half of them as counselors or teachers. There are more than 15 volunteers, but more are needed, she notes.

Programs are free and include those for parents with children 4 and under, parenting classes, self-esteem support groups, goal setting and one for teen parents. Child care is provided, GED instruction is available, there are discussion groups, arts and crafts and swimming lessons (at a pool elsewhere in the city).

''And for the teens we provide adult role models to help them consider the future and make decisions and counteract the tendency to have children,'' says Krieger.

The center opened in 1986 and operates from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. weekdays with services available to those who live in the area from North Avenue on the south to Coldspring Lane on the north; Calvert Street on the west and Harford Road on the east.

This month, ground will be broken for a new building across the street from the present one, which the center has outgrown. The center bought the land at a very reasonable price, according to Krieger.

''We will need volunteers, materials and donations. We already have, and are thankful for, a major donation,'' says Krieger.

''The AFL-CIO Baltimore Building and Construction Council will give us their apprentices from its union training program, supervised by training directors, who will do the interior labor at no cost to us,'' she says.

Council president Bill Kaczorowski says, ''We're providing the manpower because it is a very worthwhile cause, and we are glad to help the community.''

Volunteer Mary Ann Dunevant, 38, came to the center originally because ''I was lonely. For 14 years I had taught high school English and then I was at home with my first child, Drew, who is now 6. The center was within walking distance, and so Drew and I walked over to join in and I've been there ever since,'' she says. She and her husband, Michael, who works at the BG&E Riverside power plant, also have 3-year-old Hannah. ''Both of our children were born on the same day, April 14, three years apart,'' she says.

Her first volunteering job was to tutor. ''It was rewarding when a mother would come to learn in order to be able to help her children. These mothers also learned there that was someone who cared about them,'' she says.

Dunevant is now co-chairman of the center's board. She and co-chair Jen Hobbins do public relations, fund-raisers such as flea markets and more.

Board members are very wanted and welcome, she says. ''We are not a couch potato board on the letterhead of some stationery. Every member works, bakes cupcakes, goes to meetings and is active and interested,'' she says.

The center is funded through some state agencies, including the Department of Human Resources, and from private grants and individual donations.

Volunteers, donations and building supplies are needed at the Waverly Family Center. Call Betsy Krieger at 235-0555.

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