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Shepherdstown youth center expanding services to adults

November 29, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. - An after-school tutoring program that was started for youths in the Shepherdstown area is now reaching out to adults, offering them education in areas such as computer skills, budgeting and financial management, according to officials with the project.

Tommy Murray, youth pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, said it is important to have a center that offers such educational courses for people who live in the Shepherdstown area and who may not have a car. Murray will serve as director of the center.

"It's not like we have a metro bus and can go right there," Murray said.

Officials with the Shepherdstown Youth Center held an open house at the center's location at 400 W. High St. Tuesday to show the community their new offerings. Representatives from Jefferson County Schools, Shepherd University and other groups were invited to the event.

The Shepherdstown Youth Center is where the Project Excel after-school tutoring program was launched. Project Excel was eventually blended into the local school system, Murray said.

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Now the Shepherdstown Youth Center is being offered in a new format, and in addition to the normal adult education classes one might find offered in a community, officials at Asbury United Methodist Church who are running the center said they wanted to offer specialized business-related courses to help spread economic success across the local community.

"It's what we call an enrichment zone," said Rudolph Bropleh, the current pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church.

To offer the new programs, a local arm of the state Regional Education Service Agency gave the Shepherdstown Youth Center 15 computers, Murray said. The center's computer system is wireless, so people who come to the center with their own laptop computer can plug into the system, Murray said.

The Shepherdstown Youth Center also plans to continue offering tutoring help to elementary and middle school students and the church plans to offer help to local high school students who want to sharpen their skills for the college ACT test, Bropleh said.

Center officials will ask for a fee from students and adults for the programs, although the amount is still being worked out, Bropleh said. Center officials are putting together a grant request for the program and hope to offer their programs free if the funding scenario works the way they envision.

Center officials plan to begin the children's academic programs on Monday. They will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Bropleh said.

The center is planning to begin offering the adult programs in January, Bropleh said.

For more information about the center or how to contribute money to it, call 304-876-9397 or 304-876-3112.

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