Step in right the direction

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, May 1, 2013

GATESVILLE – By pure nature and instinct, moms are known to get things done.

By that accord, Cynthia Boone Pollack is no different than any other mom.

As reported in last week’s edition, Pollack expressed her concerns over the way she felt her son, as well as other local young athletes, was treated by the staff at the Gates County Community Center.

Pollack has addressed her concerns with county leaders on several occasions, beginning with her February appearance before the County Commissioners. Gates County Manager Jon Mendenhall confirmed that he met with Pollack and the issue was referred to the county’s public school system since they share programs and personnel with the Community Center. The Center sits adjacent to Gates County High School.

“After many phone calls, I was able to meet and discuss the situation with (Gates County Schools Superintendent) Dr. (Barry) Williams,” Pollack said. “The very next day after our first meeting, Dr. Williams called me to tell me that he had arranged a meeting.”

Pollack said that meeting took place on April 18 at the school system’s Central Office in Gatesville.

“Under Dr. Williams’ leadership and direction, the meeting was very informative and productive,” Pollack said. “I learned the uniqueness of the structural (organization) of the community center due to funding by county and the school system.

“During the meeting we discussed ways that would help the community and the community center,” she continued. “One way in particular is the need for volunteers to assist with programs for the young people who visit the center. Like I stated in my initial message, Gates County does not have enough financial resources to provide many activities as other surrounding counties, so we need to do all that we can to help the youth in Gates County. Volunteers can make a big difference with these activities by assisting the staff at the center.

“I am very pleased with the information that was presented in the meeting and I feel that we all have a positive start in moving forward. I believe in providing for children and this will a great new venture for all,” Pollack concluded.

Pollack said the situation involving her son and the Community Center unfolded on President’s Day, Feb 18, of this year. It was then that the Gates County High School basketball team was scheduled to have practice at 3 p.m. at the Community Center. Pollack said her son and his cousin arrived at the Center at 1:45 p.m. and attempted to enter. She said they were stopped from doing so by an official at the Community Center because they did not have approval to enter prior to the start of practice.

Pollack added that this was not the first time these boys were turned away. She stated that during the Spring of 2012 after a baseball practice, a handful of boys walked over to the Center to play basketball outside while waiting for a ride home. A staff member came out and removed the rims from the outside courts without saying anything to the boys. She further alleged that as the boys tried to enter the Center, a Center official locked the doors in their faces and walked away.

Pollack said she has given county leaders a list of suggestions to try and rectify the problems that are happening in the community center. Included on that list are:

1. A governance board needs to be established to properly govern the Center;

2. A Mission/Vision Statement along with goals for the Center;

3. Established rules to be posted in the facility as well as the web site; and

4. Student athletes should be allowed to use the center after school hours, teacher’s workdays as well as holidays to maintain their physical/athletic abilities.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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