At the beginning of each year, I like to look back on what we have accomplished here at Wayne Township during the previous year. We had an outstanding 2012, which was capped off by our Holiday Celebration, "Roll Out the Year," at the Roller Dome South in December. The celebration was a resounding success with many more attendees than I had ever imagined.
The line of cars to get into the parking lot stretched down Bluffton Road, and the line to get into the building, at one point, stretched around the parking lot. I hope many of you in Waynedale were among the approximately 2,000 guests who attended the party throughout the evening. We gave away numerous prizes to excited children and adults, including 20 bicycles.
In addition to the prizes, attendees enjoyed free food, skating, entertainment by choirs and disc jockeys, clowns, face painting and numerous other activities. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood and to be having a wonderful time. This was the first year for our Holiday Celebration, and we hope to have an even bigger and better Celebration next year.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the Holiday Celebration such a success. That includes all the generous persons and businesses that helped out with donations of money and prizes. We were able to finance the celebration through donations from the community without using any Township money. And, thanks to the volunteers and to my staff for spending so much time preparing for the party and working at the party to ensure everyone had a good time.
Another very important accomplishment this year by our staff was finding 211 jobs for Wayne Township clients. My highest goal for our office is to transition clients from "Assistance to Independence." And, the best way to do that is to help clients find jobs.
We offer employment training classes for clients every Wednesday. The classes teach clients job interviewing skills, resume' preparation and many other skills needed to be successful employees. Our Employment Department, directed by LeRoy Page, assists clients with finding places to prepare for their GED or update their computer skills. We give clients job referrals and make them aware of job fairs, where they might find employment.
Just inside the door of our office we have our "Wall of Opportunity." This is where we post notices of the jobs we know are available. The "Wall" is full of numerous job opportunities and many of our clients get job leads from the "Wall." Getting jobs for clients is a win-win for everyone. The clients are able to move from assistance to independence, employers get good workers and tax money is saved by clients no longer needing help with their rent, utilities or other basic necessities.
Another program that was a giant success in 2012 was our clothing bank, which we call our "Clothing Emporium." This program is coordinated by Patsy Brewer and served almost a 1,000 persons in 2012. All the clothing was donated, and Ms. Brewer estimated that we gave needy individuals over $50,000 worth of clothing during 2012.
Other non-traditional programs in which we participated in 2012 included a food pantry in our office sponsored by Associated Churches, hosting the Community Harvest Farm Wagon once a week and helping clients with school supplies for their children. We also partnered with the Christmas Bureau to provide Christmas gifts for 20 low-income families in our community. We work hard here at Wayne Township to go beyond what are thought of as normal township duties to make this neighborhood a great place to live.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee