A partnership between a local church and Capital School District will bring social services and more to district families in Dover.
The Capital Community Center was officially opened Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Located at 109 North West Street in Dover, the center will be open and accessible to all Capital School District families in need of services such as food, clothes, internet access, school supplies, laundry facilities and more.
Vilicia Cade, superintendent of Capital, said the idea for the collaboration was sparked in 2021.
The Solid Rock Baptist Church already had a small community center, but wanted to add services to it.
“Post-COVID It’s becoming more important that we focus on the holistic needs of the children and the families that we serve,” Cade said. “In order for us to really, really move the needle on academic achievement, we’ve got to remove some of the non-academic barriers.”
Some of these challenges, she pointed out, include food insecurity, instability in the home and lack of clothes to wear.
Capital also serves many families who are experiencing homelessness, she said.
Onsite supports include a clothing closet with new clothes and shoes as well as a food pantry with refrigerated and frozen food. The center also houses a school supply closet to provide families with essentials for school.
The center will provide families with access to two industrial-size washers and dryers that cam make laundry faster for a family.
All Capital School District family members will have access to onsite computers, printers and the internet to access school information, school assignments, enrollment, job searches and housing information.
The center is also certified to proctor and offers certification in over 5,000 credentialing exams, including GED, para-professional, real estate and more.
For now, the center is open by appointment only, but Capital plans on hiring at least one full-time worker in the coming months to help the center establish regular hours.
“My personal call to action is to make sure that every human being realizes their value and their significance, regardless of what walk of life they may have come from,” said Pastor William Grimes of Solid Rock. “That’s why this partnership is so important to us, because it fits into the fabric of what we do…We are here to uplift individuals.”
The original community center primarily served as a food pantry. Some of the major additions provided by the partnership include building out a kitchen and installing the washing machines, dryers and refrigerator.
The center represents a collective moral imperative that underscores the intersection of Capital’s schools, children and future, Cade said.
Cade was not able to provide the exact amount of funding used for the expansion.
However, she said a lot of it came from McKinney–Vento funds. The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is a federal law providing federal money for programs benefiting homeless youth.
“That’s in addition to some of our Title I funds, and then the church provided some funds,” Cade said, “So we’re sort of pooling our resources.”
About 2% of Delaware’s students lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, according to the United Health Foundation.
“The Capital Community Center is going to provide new items for students – new book bags, new school supplies, a food pantry that provides just not non perishable foods, but frozen food, cold food,” said Rod Fesel from Capital’s student services department. “Also clothing, not lightly used clothing, but brand new shoes, brand new clothes.”
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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