Dominion Dollars

Published 10:37 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

SEVERN – The Community Senior Enhancement Program received a grant on May 4 from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic branch of Dominion Power. The program, located at the Meherrin Cultural Arts Center in Severn, will use the money to complete handicap accessible renovations.

The Community Senior Enhancement Program (CSEP), which was created in 2013, provides a variety of services and events for the area’s senior citizens. Their goal is to offer ample opportunities for fellowship, recreation, and support.

Mary Stephenson, a member of the senior program’s board, was the person who initially requested the community grant from the Dominion Foundation. From there, the application was reviewed to make sure the program aligned with the requirements to receive Foundation grants.

External Affairs Manager for Dominion, Pam Pekrun, along with two other Dominion representatives were on hand Thursday morning to present the $3000 check to the CSEP board members. Pekrun spoke of how glad she was that the money would be able to enhance the program’s building.

The Meherrin Cultural Arts Center, painted white and sitting just on the other side of the railroad tracks on Highway 35, is an old school building repurposed to function as the meeting place for the senior program. The money they received will be used to install a ramp for easier access as well as to complete handicap accessible bathrooms by adding partitions and rails.

The enhancement program was originally created by Marion Mizelle and Rev. Elisha Barnes with assistance from Mary Ann Granger. Today, the program is run by a board of retired community volunteers. The center is open from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on every first and third Wednesday.

Phyllis Manley Newsome, current chair of the board, expressed her appreciation to Dominion for its generous donation.

The Dominion Foundation focuses on providing assistance in four specific areas: meeting basic human needs, protecting the environment, supporting education, and promoting community vitality. About $20 million is awarded annually to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations within the company’s service region.

The building improvements are scheduled to begin the week after the check presentation.