MLK Jr. community center establishes location in Dover

DOVER— The MLK Jr. Educational Community Center, Inc. has found a home for its organization.

It will be housed at 430 New Castle Ave., in Dover, with hopes of opening in September.

Dr. Garcia Walker, president of the organization, praised Mayor Robin Christiansen for putting him in touch with Dover Housing Authority Executive Director Ami Sebastian-Hauer.

“He’s a great connector,” Dr. Walker said. “He couldn’t help me at the time, but put me in contact with someone that could. We tried different buildings and met at different places.”

The nonprofit organization was established in March. Its mission is to provide services and opportunities by “empowering individuals faced with barriers and obstacles to establish a road map for success and restoring community and family self-sufficiency.”

Ms. Sebastian-Hauer said the program is needed in the community.

“That was a very timely phone call,” Ms. Sebastian-Hauer said. “This program will be for our youth, as we hope to encourage them to do new activities. It will give them a place to go and introduce them to sports or activities they normally wouldn’t participate in.”

One of the organization’s goals is to assist at-risk K through 12 population through educational mentorship by working with local school districts and the Dover Housing Authority.

This will be accomplished by developing a weekend program with the components of mentoring, counseling, drug and alcohol education, and soft skill training, said Dr. Walker.

The program would be held on two Saturdays of the month located at a facility to be determined. It plans to partner with local fraternity and sorority organizations, the Dover Police Department, and local school districts.

“We will have an outline of the curriculum that will be presented on the scheduled weekends,” Dr. Walker said.
“With the recent influx of violent crime in the city and surrounding areas, there’s a necessary calling for all concerned citizens to gather as a team to eliminate these negative issues.’

Councilman David Anderson supported the organization as well.

“It’s a great thing that the community is pulling together and hopefully we can support you the best way can in any way,” Mr. Anderson said.

Moving forward the community center wants to obtain state and federal grants purchase new equipment, make improvements, and hire employees.

It hopes to help people in Kent County by providing GED services, providing mental health and substance abuse counseling, providing workforce development in the areas of culinary arts and construction, and providing youth mentoring and development programs.

Mayor Christiansen said the sky is the limit for the organization.

“Failure is not an option,” Mayor Christiansen said. This program may not seek results right away, but I know in my heart that a year from now we will make a difference. If we help one child, or one teenager we be a success.”

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