Years ago, poverty, crime and drug trading characterized the West End and Hurt Park neighborhoods in Roanoke. Vacant lots, abandoned buildings and rental property were widespread. At that time, a number of children were wandering the streets without supervision and there was an increase in vandalism. In response to these circumstances, West End Presbyterian Church, West End Methodist Church and the Mountain View Neighborhood Alliance formed a coalition to establish the West End Center as a safe haven for the neighborhood children.
Since that time, the West End Center has experienced tremendous growth, both in the number of children served and the available programs and services.
We got a visit from two of their teachers today, and they came bearing gifts of the very best kind- thoughtful, handwritten words of appreciation bundled up in a large white envelope.
Since the kids cannot come to our building, we are heading to theirs very soon to talk about pets, people, and enlist their help for a new program, Pets for Life, aimed at bringing Veterinary services to underserved neighborhoods. Somehow, we have a feeling that these kids are going to make all the difference in the world to some very deserving folks.