Kids First expanding to new adult center
Published 3:48 pm Monday, January 18, 2016
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – Kids First Awareness Community Center isn’t planning to start offering its new adult classes at a former house off Simmsville Road for several months, but Director Cindy Hawkins couldn’t hold off her excitement.
“We had to do something today,” Hawkins said after a Martin Luther King Jr. Day dedication ceremony for the center’s upcoming adult education enter. “If you look, you’ll see white, black, everybody working together out here. That is really the dream Dr. King fought for.”
Braving frigid temperatures, several volunteers – including a group from Alabama Power’ public service organization – spent the day on Jan. 18 working on the grounds surrounding a green and white house near the intersection of Simmsville Road and Fifth Avenue Southeast.
The house is about a quarter-mile from the Kids First building off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and will one day house the center’s adult education services, Hawkins said.
Kids First recently signed a five-year lease on the high-visibility property, and volunteers have since flocked to help prepare the house for the new classes.
Once the renovations are completed, the adult education center will bear the name H.O.P.E. Mission Outreach, which stands for “Helping our Parents through Education.” The center will offer free classes focusing on literacy, job interview skills, parenting and more, Hawkins said.
While Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon said the adult education center still must work through some city zoning and permitting requirements before it begins offering classes this summer, she praised Hawkins for working to provide the classes for the community.
“I look forward to this being a finished product and doing what needs to be done to help the people in our community,” Handlon said. “We are so thankful for this. It’s a process, and we will watch it evolve.”
During the Jan. 18 ceremony, Hawkins dedicated the new facility to longtime Kids First supporters Jimmy Gould, Anne Shiller and pastor Joe Raines.
“It’s so fitting that we would do this today in Dr. Martin Luther King’s memory,” Raines said. “Cindy, you began a dream here, and it is continuing with this new endeavor.
“I see great things coming with this new program,” Raines said.