I have lived the majority of my life in the Burnsville community of Anson County. As a result, I have been able to witness first-hand the best and worst my community has to offer.
In my community, I have seen men and women lose their way to drugs, alcohol and gambling. I find myself deeply troubled by the degradation of human potential, the negative impact on the community and the harmful effects on families that those temporary escapes from reality have. However, there is a light that continues to shine from inside the darkness. It is the Burnsville Recreation and Learning Center.
The BRLC has been a unifying force in the community for two decades now, with a determination that has been heaven sent. The organization has helped the community and the less fortunate in many ways. In 2011, their food drives served 14,676 meals. They offer courses to adults and senior citizens in basic computer skills, which is vital in today’s world. The BRLC created an after-school program that helps students, from elementary all the way to high school, get a firm grasp on their studies.
Throughout my high school years, I was able to become a tutor for that program, which was really rewarding. I attended the after-school program for many years and it gave me a work ethic that helped me achieve my degree at UNC.
During the summer, the BRLC held its summer food program, which gave me the opportunity to meet other people my age, have two healthy meals a day and take part in academic and cultural activities. We had the opportunity to enjoy much in the way of physical activity. For more than 10 years, I participated in the summer food program and I recall intense basketball games that would last long after the building was set to close. The director, Carol Smith, would always remind us to shut the gate and be safe. Now it seems the BRLC can no longer operate in the capacity it would like to anymore.
The economic downturn has trickled down to my small town and affected the once thriving BRLC. Now, the after-school program can only take full payment from after-school customers, when it used to serve people at a reduced price or for free. This year alone, there was only one child who was able to attend. In all my years there, I have never seen such a thing happen. I am reaching out through this letter to help the center. The people there are like family to me. I would like to see the children return to the summer programs because it is so needed in this community. The BRLC provided care and help to children on the national free and reduced lunch program and children that are at risk. For so many years, Mrs. Smith and the volunteer board has given to Anson, Union, Stanly, Richmond and other counties with little or no pay. Now our duty is to give back and help this community center so that the volunteers can continue to help students and low-income families. At one time, I was that student which drew from the light (BRLC) in my community.
The world has a habit of focusing heavily on the biggest issues at the moment. I am from a little town, with two stores, and one place where children and adults can get help learning. We are not the biggest news of the day but we do exist and we, like everyone, need help from time to time. I am asking that you donate financially what you can for a place that has become more than a place but an idea manifested. The idea that unity is stronger than chaos, that knowledge is stronger than ignorance, and that love for one another is the strongest power that we have. Will you please make a one-time special donation?
The center is located at 13349 Hwy. 742 N.; Polkton, NC 28135. Mail responses to Victor Medley Project; 1961 Wightman Church Road; Polkton, NC 28135.