On a cold winter's evening, the Flint Development Center is bursting with activity, hosting a game night for youth including a visit from Paw Patrol's Chase. Children from all ages were busy making slime, learning new games, dancing, and enjoying each other's company.
This is the new Flint Development Center, the former Bunche Elementary School renovated as a centerpiece of place-based activity in north Flint. A $53,200 grant from the Flint Kids Fund supports programming at the new digital library and literacy laboratory, which serves over 100 children and families.
Mary Heron serves as lead literacy coach. The retired Carman Ainsworth elementary educator is passionate about this new phase in her life, assisting children and families with literacy skills, and boosting school and job readiness. "I'm making a difference and doing what's right for kids," Heron says. "Teaching that long, I was ready for something different."
Working on computer skills with 5-year-old Destiny Freeman, Heron comments on the progress she has made in the literacy laboratory. "Destiny lives across the street from the Center and she loves coming here and to me that's all that counts.This is our future."
Executive Director Shelly Sparks looks to parents and children to better understand the programs and services of most interest to them. "With the digital library, we have an opportunity to expand services for family literacy, financial literacy, parenting classes, and workplace readiness for children's parents," Sparks says. "These services, offered from a central location in north Flint, will reduce the prevalence of poverty among young families and ultimately improve outcomes for children."
Give to the Flint Kids Fund today to support programs like these.