The saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ is an appropriate one for Marystown’s Smallwood Crescent Community Centre.
Fifteen years to the day of the opening of the neighbourhood facility for residents of Smallwood Crescent, Atlantic Crescent and surrounding area, a celebration marking the occasion was held Sept. 27.
The event provided an opportunity for current staff, volunteers, participants and community partners to reflect on the past as they enjoyed a turkey supper together.
The centre’s roots began to take shape in the late 1980s, when a group of tenants from the area formed an association. Working together with Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, an executive director was hired in 1995.
Long-time volunteer Ronnie Saint recalled street dances and card games in those early years, prior to the centre’s official founding.
Current executive director Darrell Jackman, who called the anniversary a “tremendous landmark,” noted the organization has grown steadily over the years.
He indicated the centre assists all age groups in the community, from pre-natal to children to youth, adults and seniors, with programs such as Homework Haven, Coffee Time, Community Kitchen, Youth Outreach, Linkages and Skills Link.
“With hundreds of people assisted on an annual basis, the community centre is a place that is known to community residents for its hospitality and willingness to make sure that all individuals have a chance to participate and succeed.”
The facility received a glowing endorsement from Tiffany Stewart, who volunteered at the centre as a teen and now has a six-year-old son attending programs.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Igor prevented Ms. Stewart from speaking in person, so her mother, Irene, filled in to read her daughter’s words.
She described the centre as “not only a place to get away and relax or have fun with yours friends, it was, in fact, a second home.”
Speaking on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing was Jessie Cluett, regional manager for Burin Region, who acknowledged, as someone who was born and raised in the area, she was particularly aware of the centre’s importance.
“Even if you were a perfect stranger, I don’t think it would take long to realize what a big role the centre has played these last 15 years.”
Fisheries Minister and Burin-Placentia West MHA Clyde Jackman indicated he had a connection to the facility in his teaching career prior to entering politics.
As language arts coordinator with the regional school board, he was among a group of people who offered the ‘Parents as Partners’ program at the centre.
“Your group is to be commended for the work that they do.”