March Lunch and Learn

Each month Westside Community Center offers an education presentation called Lunch and Learn. For the month of March, Marcus Brown will be joining us to speak about matters of life and death– literally. Marcus Brown is the owner and director of Marcus Brown Funeral Home located in Anderson, SC.  He will cover information on how to create a will, set aside money for necessary funeral expenses, and more.

The event will be held in the Wellness Center at Westside on Wednesday March 10th at 12 PM.

For more information about Marcus Brown, his website is

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 11:13 AM  Leave a Comment  

Bridge Tournament Returns to Westside

The Ladies Bridge Tournament returned to Westside Community Center this Friday and Saturday. The dates of the event were February 19th and 20th. Ladies from all over the state of South Carolina and the surrounding areas came to enjoy the festivities and Westside’s facilities. The ladies had such a good time that they say they will return next year.

Published in: on February 23, 2010 at 8:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

Anderson International Festival Draws Crowds to WCC

On Sunday, the two-week long Anderson International Festival drew to a close at Westside Community Center. Crowds of neighbors, families, and friends congregated at WCC to see the much anticipated festival finale.  Each year, the festival chooses a theme that celebrates a different culture. In year’s past, the theme has been Russian and Celtic.  This year the theme was West African Journeys.

People congregated in the Westside Gymnasium to see traditional African clothing, eat delicious foods, learn the dances, hear the drum inspired music, and to rediscover a culture that has so greatly effected the Anderson area. For the children, there were arts and crafts and face painting to enjoy. There was also a performance by the Ohio University African Ensemble, featuring audience participation and song and dance.

The finale was a wild success, and many families are waiting eagerly to see what the AIF will bring next year.

Published in: on February 2, 2010 at 12:11 PM  Leave a Comment  

Anderson Council of Garden Club Plants Trees at Westside

Anderson Council of Garden Club generously donated and planted 5 beautiful new trees at Westside Community Center. The trees, three Grancy Grey Beard and two Crepe Myrtles, have been placed in the courtyard to bring seasonal color. The preschool children at the Center even came out to help, adding little cupfuls of dirt.

Many thanks to the Garden Club! These trees will be enjoyed by staff, visitors, and children for many years to come.

To see the article about this in the Independent Mail, visit the link below:

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 11:16 AM  Leave a Comment  

West African Village Comes to WCC

Anderson International Festival will be hosting West African Journeys, a celebration of West African culture and its contribution to life in South Carolina, from January 15- 30, 2010. This area was the region from which vast majority of African slaves bound for the English colonies in America were taken. Thus, the traditions regarding arts, cuisine, and customs had an immense impact on everyday life in South Carolina.

Westside Community Center is proud to announce its involvement with this year’s festival. The Center will be hosting the festival finale on January 30th from 1-4 PM. During this time, the gymnasium will be transformed into a West African Village, bringing West Africa to Anderson, SC. The celebration will include West African music, art, food, and dancing and is sure to be fun for the whole family.

This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, call (864) 367-3879 or visit

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 4:11 PM  Leave a Comment  

WCC Urges Citizens to be Counted!

It’s that time again, and Westside Community Center is urging South Carolina residents to be counted for the 2010 Census.

Why do we conduct the Census?
The US Constitution mandates a headcount every 10 years of everyone residing in the United States. This helps determine the number of seats each state will have in the US House of Representatives. Also, every year, more than $300 billion in federal funds is awarded to states and communities based on census data.

Who is counted?
Everyone living the United States is counted. The correct place to count people is where they usually live. We also count special populations, such as college students, snowbirds, foreign residents, military barracks, prisoners, and those in homeless shelters.

Information gathered from the United States Census Bureau

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 2:43 PM  Leave a Comment  

Anderson County Nurse Family Partnership Program

The WCC is the new home for the Anderson county Nurse Family Partnership Program (NFP), a nationall recognized, evidenced- based program for first time moms. The program, funded by South Carolina First Steps and Duke Endowmen, is being implemented by South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Region 1 in collaboration with community partners. Founding community organizations include Anderson County First Steps, Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce, AnMed Health, SCDHEC Region 1, DocLink, Imagine Anderson, and United Way of Anderson County.

Under the program, first-time mothers who meet financial eligibility guidelines will meet with a registered nurse early in pregnancy. Nurse visits will continue until the child’s second birthday. Visits will focus on developing behaviors that support healthy pregnancies and children, school readiness, and self-sufficiency. In its 30-year history, NFP has shown substantial, consistent, and dramatic results:

  • 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect
  • 56% reduction in emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings
  • 59% reduction in arrests at child age 15
  • 72% fewer convictions of mothers at child age 15

Independent research shows that communities benefit from this relationship between nurses and first-time parents. Every dollar invested in NFP can yield more than $5 in return.

The six members of the NFP staff include Alice Bagby, Coleman Tanner, Catherine Jones, Wendy Wright, Chianti Banks, and Mary Beth Peurifoy. Referrals are coming in and the caseload is steadily increasing. The public is also encouraged to make referrals to the program.

Anderson County was selected as one of the first sites in South Carolina because it demonstrated strong community collaboration and had the capacity for being able to achieve the outcomes of the program. Call 864-716-3860 for more information.

An editorial in the Anderson Independent-Mail stated, “The money, time and effort expended for these families bear fruit in ways other than reduced personal hardships. As families become more independent and as their lives prosper, so do their prospects and the prospects of the next generation.”

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 2:30 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Chair Speaks

As Chair of the Board of Directors, I feel that the WCC is one of the best-kept secrets of Anderson County. Guided by its vision of becoming a model of a healthy community, WCC has assembled an impressive host of partners who offer a wide variety of services from the campus of the original Westside High School. Having adopted the mission of “enhancing the quality of life of the citizens of the community,” WCC is truly making a positive impact on underserved citizens who live in Anderson County.

Over the past 10 years, a group of dedicated community leaders has transformed a campus that had fallen into a serious state of disrepair into a shining beacon that uplifts people. Numerous partners and donors have contributed time, money, and materials into making this transformation a regional model for revitalization. The programs that operate out of the Center serve citizens of all ages, from children to senior adults.

In the beginning, a group of concerned residents established a non-profit organization to spearhead this transformation. Private donors from across the county, including the city of Anderson and Anderson County, have generously provided funding for the Center. A Board of Directors provides management oversign and policy development. This Board consists of a broad cross section of the community, including the private and public sector, higher education, health care, and the all-important grass roots sector. The Board employs and Executive Director and staff to manage daily operations. Dr. Beatrice Thompson has served as the Executive Director of the Center since its inception.

The annual fundraising Gala is the place to be each May as the community turns out to learn of the latest enhancement and reaffirm their support for their community center. Other fundraising acivities are held throughout the year and numerous grants have expenaded program offerings over the years. Becoming a benefactor of the Center requires no special credential or criteria, just a willingness to share what you can to improve the quality of life for your fellow man. Anyone who would like more information on becoming a friend of the WCC, should contact the office for durther information.

While there has been great progress in bringing the WCC to its current state, I believe the best is yet to come. So, I invite you to join with the current partners and receive a blessing as we move formward into the future.

-Dr. Neil Lark

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 2:11 PM  Leave a Comment