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Leadership to renovate Disabilities Service Center; Several local businesses contribute to cause

By Stewart Voegtlin

stewart@jacksonprogress-argus.com

Thanks to the county's 2010 Leadership Class, the Butts County Developmental Disabilities Service Center/Jackson Industry will undergo cosmetic and some structural renovations. Each year, Leadership chooses a class project and the center's renovations will be its focus for the next several weeks.

Developmental Disabilities Service Center is a division of the McIntosh Trail Communities Service Board.

Leadership undertook a community garden project in 2009 and worked to raise funds for a Griffin Tech satellite campus in 2005.

The class chose to renovate the center since it suffered a wave of budget cuts, but still maintains a high level of service.

"Several businesses have already donated materials to the cause," Center Director and Leadership Member Pam Head said. "Edward Jones' Allen Thompson has donated paint and his time to shutters, doors, and gutters to match the new roof. R&B Metals has donated materials and time to install an awning and entrance to the training area to prevent participants from getting wet when arriving or leaving the service center. Hyponex has donated soil and mulch for landscaping."

The awning will keep consumers from having to walk from the building in the rain, which has been quite a problem over the past year.

Many renovations are planned, including a new roof, shutters, doors, and gutters. Head said there are also plans to redo the center's sign on Highway 36.

The Disability & Industry Center serves the community in many capacities. It offers employment services, skills training, and provides community access services.

Head said the center is also considering applying for a grant through Central Georgia EMC that could help them establish a computer lab for participants in the program.

Leadership Class and service center employees began renovations last Saturday. Class members painted, landscaped, and did minor repairs.

"We are very grateful for how the Leadership Class and others from the community have embraced us," Head said.

Now in its eleventh year, Leadership Butts County was the outgrowth of the J.W. Fanning Institute -- an entity named for University of Georgia Professor Emeritus J.W. Fanning.

The Fanning Institute, begun in 1982, is committed to developing leadership skills in Georgians of all ages, in all communities, and from all walks of life. The emphasis is on development of a community's people, and not its infrastructure. The central idea is if developing a person's leadership potential is essential to improving the quality of life, Leadership classes here -- and throughout Georgia -- are a way to hone local leaders while raising the community up at the same time.