The Center gets new leadership

December 20, 2018

The Center has had a new but familiar face representing the business for the last couple of weeks.

When manager Andrew Davidson moved to the area in April, he started working at The Center as a volunteer answering calls and scheduling bus transits. The organization provides a place for health clinics, community events, school information, fellowship and many other activities, according to its website.

Davidson quickly moved up the ladder and became the assistant manager soon after. He held the position for two months before taking another step: Becoming the manager.

The position was left vacant for roughly a month after former manager Leon DeValkenaere decided to step down because of health-related issues.

“I figured it’s better to have someone who can devote more time to it than I was going to be able to,” said DeValkenaere, who still makes occasional visits to The Center to lend a helping hand.

DeValkenaere said the suitable candidate needed to have prior computer experience to submit reports and data.

Because of his prior experience with The Center, it was a smooth transition for Davidson. Although only two weeks have passed since he filled the position, Davidson said he already has several plans he looks forward to implementing.

The Center, 124 East 12th St., currently serves roughly 120 clients throughout Colfax County.

One of Davidson’s top priorities is to expand The Center’s meal services to serve senior citizens throughout the county by establishing remotes sites in different communities.

Davidson said The Center has a lot of available space, and because of that, he plans to increase community outreach by encouraging residents to utilize the space for meetings and events. He is working closely with Jackie Farrell, executive director of the Schuyler Area Chamber of Commerce, to introduce more community events like quilting for disabled veterans. Davidson said it’s a good way to bring different generations together.

However, Davidson said The Center already hosts several activities for the general public, like bingo.

Those interested in learning more about the different activities offered at The Center are encouraged to call 402-352-5009.

Overall, the position provides a platform for Davidson to help others, which he said is one of his biggest passions. Whether it’s delivering home-cooked meals or referring clients to appropriate resources, Davidson said helping his community is something that makes him excited to get out of bed every morning.

The Center is hosting a Christmas dinner at noon on Thursday. Admission is free. Those interested in attending the event are encouraged to make reservations before 9 a.m. Entertainment is being provided by the Ostry family from Butler County.

“We want to open this place up for more functions,” Davidson said. “So the building is better utilized.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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