Wellness and Senior centers to share VISTA
Green Bank, W.Va. –
For a little over a year now, a small but dedicated group led by Rachel Taylor has been working diligently to make the dream of a wellness and fitness center in northern Pocahontas county a reality. One of the obstacles they’ve faced is locating sources of grant funding, and more importantly, someone with the expertise to write and help administer grants.
Now, through a partnership with the Pocahontas County senior centers, their search for a grant writer may be drawing to a close. Pocahontas senior center director John Simmons spoke about their own search during a recent wellness center meeting in Green Bank. He says an Americorps Vista worker application for the senior center was approved about the same time as an application for the wellness center. While the senior center was urged to pay $5400.00 up front to improve their chances of getting a vista, the application for the wellness center was approved at no cost. So Simmons proposed that the two organizations could share the vista volunteer, Lindsey Sutton, under the banner of the wellness center.
“First of all, the county senior citizen’s does not need a 40 hour per week grant writer,” says Simmons. “By doing that we’ll split the time with her 20 hours a week that she’ll work for each entity.”
In turn, the senior center will provide an in kind match for office space at the Green Bank senior center as well as heat, utilities, phone and internet. He also told Sutton about a couple of rental options in Green Bank, at the senior center and a rental property owned by Frank and Janet Ghigo. If all goes according to plan, Sutton could start around the end of November. Simmons will be her supervisor while in the county.
With the vista volunteer issue settled, the group also discussed other organizational topics such as selecting a board of directors and writing bylaws. Taylor has asked Mali Minter to search for a boilerplate document as beginning step towards creating a set of bylaws. After some good natured cajoling during the meeting, Julie Dillon agreed to help Minter with that project. Taylor encourages anyone interested in helping with that project or serving on a board of directors to contact her.
The wellness center group is also working on getting official non-profit status, a precursor for many of the grant opportunities they want to pursue. That process may take a while as the non-profit applications are said to be somewhat backed up at present. In the meantime, NRAO Green Bank site director Karen O’Neill says another county non-profit is lending a hand.
“A couple of meetings ago, the Pocahontas county parks and recreation created a separate account for us because they’re a 501c3 [non-profit], so our money has a place to go,” she says.
Sue Ann Heatherly reports that they have over $2700.00 that was raised during a cycling event held at the NRAO earlier this year. While a larger, permanent structure is envisioned for the wellness center, in the short term, the group is eager to get a building near Green Bank elementary school up and running as a temporary site. However, cleaning and repairs will need to be completed before any of the already donated exercise equipment can be moved in. A roster of volunteers must also be in place, as the building will need to be staffed whenever open to the public.
The next meeting to discuss the Green Bank wellness center will be Wednesday, Sept 26th at the NRAO in Green Bank. If you’d like more information or want to be on the contact list, please call Rachel Taylor at 304-456-5115 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.