Dancing Down the Aisle: Receiving Our $500K Community Development Block Grant

Block grant photo 2
Today, GCRC individuals, families, and staff are still amazed and excited over the recent Community Development Block Grant we received from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). I want to express our thanks to our Board of Directors, the Gordon County Board of Commissioners, Gordon County Administrator, Dave Ronningen (Grant Writer), and also to Killian and Clark, (Architects), for their support in applying for this grant in order to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities will have a state-of-the-art addition to the current agency, which will provide opportunities to fulfill their desires to become fully integrated, working members of our community.

I, along with Commissioner Norris Sexton, attended the workshop and award ceremony on September 5, 2014. Commissioner Gretchen Corbin, DCA, was present and offered her words of excitement, encouragement, and pride at the grants that were awarded. Her commitment to growth and economic development of our communities/counties was a prevalent theme in her address to the awardees. 

There was an air of excitement in the room as each county/city was announced, along with the amount they would receive and what the funds would be used for. I stood in the rear of the room, too excited to sit, daydreaming of the finished product this grant award would produce: a 3,200 square foot addition to GCRC that would include a theater/video production area, a driving simulation room, a banking/financial area, kitchen, Italian style restaurant, and a non-perishable good grocery. I pictured the success of individuals who would soon be learning and experiencing opportunities that would allow for independence. I pictured the choices for each individual to learn to drive, manage their own dollars, and gain the skills to be competitively employed. I could not help but shift from foot to foot, and smile like a cheshire cat, in anticipation of Gordon County being called up. The list was long and G seemed so far removed from A with all the counties involved. For a brief moment I was able to speak with the Dave Ronningen, the Grant Writer, and Brent Allen, DCA Field Representative for the North Region, and could barely contain my excitement and thankfulness to them for believing in the project and providing the opportunity to receive the funds to make it happen.

As the Chief Financial Officer of DCA read off the names and awards, I spoke with Dave and asked him to join me and Commissioner Sexton in accepting the award. This was to be Dave’s final year of grant writing and I felt like he should be present when that enormous cardboard check for $500,000 was handed over. I shared with Dave that I was going to dance down the aisle when Gordon County was announced, to which he replied, “If you dance, I”ll go.”

Suddenly, Gordon County was next on the list, and true to my word, I began to sashay down the aisle. I smiled back at Dave, who grinned and remained in his spot. After a brief dance move and twirl, I walked with Commissioner Sexton to the front of the room to shake hands, say thank you, smile for photos and  make sure all involved knew the depth of gratitude from Gordon County and George Chambers Resource Center. As Norris and I reached the rear of the room and took a spot back beside Dave, he stated, “I’m so glad to see your excitement. We don’t see that kind of joy that often over these grants.”  That excitement I felt at that moment is the same excitement still felt by each staff, family, board member, community member, and individual involved in the supports and work of George Chambers Resource Center.

Block grant photo

We want to thank this entire community and all who played a part in making this happen. We can’t wait to break ground, complete the project, and share an open house with you all. Until then, we will continue to keep you posted with pictures and progress as the project takes place. And, as always, we welcome you to stop by anytime for a visit and get to know GCRC.

Thanks for reading!
Mary
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