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Directors of Hagerstown rec center work on programs for teens

April 15, 2010|By MARLO BARNHART
  • Memorial Recreation Center Program Director Marquita Davis, left, and Director Loretta Wright work together on various projects at the recreation center.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- Loretta Wright's path to director of Memorial Recreation Center in Hagerstown last year actually began when she first became a mother 22 years ago.

"I decided to become a preschool teacher about 20 years ago," Wright said.

She began that career at Rehoboth United Methodist Church in Williamsport and later as a substitute teacher at Fountaindale Elementary.

She and her husband, Kelly Wright -- a Fox News anchor -- have two sons, Michael, 22, and Morgan, 19. The Wrights joined the board at Memorial Recreation Center during the tenure of the late Ruth Monroe, longtime director at the 109 W. North Ave. center.

A native of Chambersburg, Pa., Loretta Wright graduated from Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., with a degree in retail merchandising.

Years later, when she joined the Memorial Recreation board, she found she knew a lot of the children through teaching at Fountaindale.

"I was asked to come to a meeting at Memorial Recreation, and I volunteered to be the director," she said.

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After the position was posted and interviews were completed, she was chosen for the job in June.

The center averages 15 to 20 children daily, she said.

"We have about 60 kids starting summer camp on June 14," she said.

Between now and then, Loretta Wright is hoping to raise enough money to fill the Center's pool with water so the campers can swim each day.

"We're praying for it," she said.

Wright works with program director Marquita Davis.

"I was a Memorial Recreation volunteer when I was a teenager," Davis said.

Davis said she loves children, is interested in them and saw the need.

"It's a dream come true for me," she said.

She said she too was influenced by Monroe, calling her an inspiration.

Wright and Davis have launched a program to mentor teenage girls known as D.I.V.A.S. (Dedicated Intellectuals Vision Achievement and Success). They have also begun a similar program to help teenage boys called MAN Up! (Motivated Achievers Now).

Both programs seek to show teens how to steer clear of risky behavior that could lead to drug abuse, teen pregnancy or crime. The programs also teach teens how to excel in academics, develop healthy lifestyles, and become men and women of great character.

Memorial Recreation Center is open Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 6 p.m. For more information, call 301-790-0203.

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