Leeds, AL-The Robert R. Moton Community Center celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a special event, Ignite Moton Center – “Let’s Light Up the Community in Greatness”, on Tuesday, July 13 in their gym. The evening included a dinner meal catered by Creative Catering by Ambrosia and program that included a historical overview of The Moton Center which was presented by Dr. Carl H. Marbury, CEO-Emeritus, a thank you to their supporters and plans for the future.
Other speakers included Dr. Gloria Haynes - Executive Director and Mistress of Order, Leeds Attorney Lee Barnes, George Bowman - Director of Operations for Priority Soldier, Inc. and former Jefferson County Commissioner, Mayor David Miller, Linda Miller – Steering Committee and local business owner, Councilman Kenneth Washington for District 1, Councilwoman DeVoris Ragland-Pierce for District 5 with a presentation for restoring the facility by Billie Eyster – Supporter/Realtor & Developer. Craig and Shannon Haskins from Church of the Highlands shared some closing remarks as well as Sabrina Rose – Realtor and MCEF Board Member and Jeffery Horne – CEO of J & J Technology. Opening prayer and benediction was conducted by Reverend Curtis White, Sr. of Greater Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.
This facility was first the Robert R. Moton High School for African American students residing in Leeds and east Jefferson County. It was built in 1948 and named for Dr. Robert R. Moton, President of Tuskegee Institute from 1915-1935. After the last graduating class in 1970, through court-ordered integration, it became Moton Junior High School, Leeds Junior High and then, the Leeds Middle School, respectively.
Leeds Moton Community Center Celebrates 10 Years
The Moton Center Educational Foundation, Inc. (MCEF), a 501c(3) non-profit, owns, governs and maintains this new Center. This organization was created exclusively for charitable and education purposes to foster, develop and promote the excellence of education within the Leeds area for at-risk students and children from low-income families.
MCEF also assists and cooperates with the City of Leeds school system in tutoring and mentoring programs of various kinds and it oversees, beautifies and maintains the buildings, facilities and grounds.
Programs and activities include summer camp and tutorials, Jesus Way ministries and mentoring, Veterans’ support, food pantry and much more. The Kids Summer Program 2021 is in its’ final week serving children in the community from June 14 through July 23 with reading, math and IT classes. This program included strategy games, arts and crafts as well as dance and music. Their basketball and soccer programs are also underway.
The center is about to launch their back-to-school backpack and lunch box program which will serve approximately 30 children. Boys and Girls Club and campfire activities are planned along with library and reading programs. More personal computers are being added for IT training. Children as young as 6 years of age can enroll for IT classes with Scratch, Python and robotics.
Adults are eligible to enroll in IT classes for a small fee and receive a certificate upon completion of the program to be able to land a job in that field which currently pays $26 per hour.
MCEF is the headquarters and meeting place for CLEAR, MCEF and other civic organizations and serves as an event center for those who would like to meet there or host a special event. This is also the headquarters for the National Moton High School Alumni Association.
Plans for a new senior citizens’ room, a senior citizens’ day care, expanded children’s services with an early childhood learning center and expanded Veterans services are underway. The center has staff that can work with Veterans who are suffering with PTSD. Also, in the works are grief counseling and suicide prevention helps.
Planning is underway for an annual Seniors Thanksgiving Luncheon celebration, annual community celebration of African-American History Month, annual MLK celebration, a new Leeds Holistic Health Center, a new community/technical college program, a new Leeds Theological Studies Institute, Leeds/Moton Historical Museum and archives, expanded space for the Moton Community Garden, Moton cultural arts center program, early childcare program and Achievers Mentoring Group.
Leeds Moton Community Center Celebrates 10 Years
In addition to celebrating 10 years of service and a thank you to the many people who have made the Moton Center possible, the Ignite Moton Center event also served as a fundraiser. Attendees were given an opportunity to participate in the fundraising efforts to continue the work of the center. Sponsors of the event included Church of the Highlands, Dewayne Carter, Custom Home Designs, J & J Technology, Moore Tax Services, Smith Tabernacle C.M.E. Church and Cheryl Wilson – Creative Catering by Ambrosia.
Just prior to the event, 78 volunteers from Church of the Highlands participated in performing some maintenance and repairs on their annual Serve Day with plans for a monthly Serve Day at the facility.
There is much work to be done so the greater Leeds community is invited to participate by giving of your time, talents and resources to be part of this exciting endeavor.
MCEF currently has an Adopt a Room, Space or Project for anyone or any organization who would like to volunteer or contribute for maintenance, restoration or expansion of services or facilities so there are many ways to get involved.
The Moton Center is located at 1721 Moton Street, Leeds, Alabama 35094. For more information on how you can get involved, please contact The Moton Center at (205) 352-3266 and visit their website at www.motoncenter.net.