Sankofa center set to open Saturday

DOVER — Zachary Brown was amazed when he saw the new Sankofa Cultural Arts Center in Dover for the first time.

“It’s a nice building,” the 12-year-old said. “I know we’re going to have some good times in there.”

Reuben Salters, founder of the Inner City Cultural League and former councilman, is counting on those good times making an impact.

Reuben Salters was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Kent County Tourism earlier this month, in part for his efforts in opening the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center. (Delaware State News file/Dave Chambers)

Reuben Salters was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Kent County Tourism earlier this month, in part for his efforts in opening the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center. (Delaware State News file/Dave Chambers)

And he also hopes everyone is just as amazed as Zachary during the center’s grand opening celebration Saturday.

The process for the new center has taken the organization 15 years, and now Mr. Salters hopes everyone continues to show their support moving forward.

“I expect people to come out and enjoy the night,” Mr. Salters said. “This building for me has been a long time coming and it’s great knowing that it’s finally up and running.”

The attire for the 7 p.m. event is semi-formal.

The 4,000-square-foot building at 39 S. West St. will include after-school, educational and recreational programs to increase youths’ awareness on culture and arts.

“There’s a small population that doesn’t even pay attention to what we’ve been doing in the community,” Mr. Salters said.

“We want the kids in the neighborhood to pay attention. We have tutoring and other aspects that are important to the development of these kids. We want parents to make sure that they take advantage of it.”

The center, to be geared toward youth ages 6 to 21, will require a $25 a month fee, said Mr. Salters.

Currently the center offers an after-school program, which gives youngsters a chance to study and socialize.

It has taken Reuben Salters 15 years to get the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center built and in operation. He will celebrate the realization of his dream Saturday night. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

It has taken Reuben Salters 15 years to get the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center built and in operation. He will celebrate the realization of his dream Saturday night. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

“The kids really enjoy it,” Mr. Salters said. “They want to take the building over, but you can’t let them do that. You have to have control of their activities and give them rules of engagement.”

The organization, known for its Sankofa West Africa dance and drum teams, also will offer classes on African drumming and dance, as well as teaching languages, including French, German and Chinese.

Mr. Salters said they slowly will start to implement the programs moving forward.

“The after-school program is free, but we’re working on the finances for the other programs,” Mr. Salters said.

“There’s a scientific program that we’re working on as well. We’re going to start slowly adding them. But as for now the building is a safe haven for kids after school.”

Micaiah Brown, 14, shared the same sentiment.

“It helps kids stay out of trouble,” Micaiah said. “It’s a new place to learn things and it keeps kids out of trouble.”

“We want to provide developmental activities for our youth through the arts,” Mr. Salters said.

“We just want a place where kids in the community can go to stay out of trouble while we help increase their educational and social development.”

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