Farragut Rotary boosts Wesley House

Tom KingFarragut

One Wesley House project down, one to go!

The Rotary Club of Farragut and the Rotary Club of Knoxville teamed up with the Wesley House board of directors for a great workday on Saturday, June 24, at The Wesley House Community Center. Founded in 1907, this neighborhood treasure serves the kids and the senior citizens in the Mechanicsville, Lonsdale and Beaumont communities. Its mission is simple: It works to empower and serve the people in those under-served areas of Knoxville. And serve they do.

Here’s what 40 Rotary volunteers did that day:

  • Painted, sorted all of the items in the donation room and the “Granny Room” which were huge jobs.
  • Painted picnic tables, weeded flower beds, trimmed shrubs and put down mulch.
  • Hauled trash, power washed and did general cleanup work.
  • Disinfected all classrooms and hallways.

This video, produced by Knox Fox Real Estate Group, offers a good look at what happened.

Now, about the project coming down the tracks. Farragut Rotary applied for and won approval for a $12,000 grant that will be used to transform the center’s library – which is the only public library in this community and the 37921-zip code.

Earlier this year Kara Finger, the center’s director, spoke to Farragut Rotary about their educational-related needs, especially in the library. Our club’s interest grew out of her presentation and from the love and dedication three of our members share for the center. Club president Valerie Privett, president-elect Teri Jo Fox and secretary Sonya Ford are all members of Wesley’s board of directors. Privett is a former president of the Wesley House board.

Books, many on the floor, will be sorted, catalogued and arranged on new shelves. The grant will provide new shelving and organizational components, a computer station especially for those children who do not have Internet access at home, a work cubicle for employees and volunteers and appropriate seating.

Two Farragut Rotarians are major parts of the project. Past president Jonathan Johnson is one of the owners of A&W Office Supply and club vice president Scott Bertini works for Patterson-Pope, a major company in the business of high-density storage solutions and mobile shelving systems that create storage efficiency and security. Both visited the center and have developed a comprehensive plan for the furnishings and layout of the entire library. The work should begin this fall.

Wesley House is a magical place doing incredible community service work. It offers services to nine elementary and middle schools in Mechanicsville, Lonsdale and Beaumont. The services include structured, after-school and summer activities to support kids’ needs and to help their educational and emotional development. They offer the kids homework help, tutoring and enrichment activities. In addition to the after-school program, Wesley House has an 8-week summer camp that includes enrichment activities, dedicated academic time to prevent educational regression, as well as play activities and field trips. The children also receive breakfast, lunch and snacks each day to ensure adequate nutrition when school breakfasts and lunches are not available.

Wesley House is located at 1719 Reynolds St. in Knoxville and its phone number is 865-524-5494. To learn more about the center, visits its website.

Tom King is a career journalist and a past president of the Rotary Club of Farragut. If you want more information about Rotary or are interested in attending a meeting or joining, please email Tom. The club meets every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Farragut Community Center.


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