And More Room
Part Of $1.7M Plan
BY LISA WARREN
A large gathering of friends and supporters of Free Will Baptist Family Ministries was on hand Thursday morning at a groundbreaking ceremony for Family Ministries' on-campus school expansion.
The 10,000-square-foot addition will add much-needed classroom space and counseling facilities for the youth served at Path Academy, located on Family Ministries' main campus in the Camp Creek community, officials say.
The $1.7 million project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014, officials add.
"Today puts in motion a dream many of us at Family Ministries have had for some time," said the Rev. Frank Woods, president and CEO of Family Ministries.
"This new expansion will allow us to better educate the children in our care and ensure they have the same educational advantages as every other child," he continued.
"Next to leading the children we serve to Christ, the next most important thing we can do for their future is to educate them," Woods said.
He added, "With an education, these children have a better chance of being productive citizens in society."
Woods lauded Dr. James Kilgore, the former Family Ministries president and CEO, whose vision, he said, helped to bring Family Ministries and its services to where they are today.
Following a battle with colon cancer, Kilgore stepped down as head of Family Ministries in 2012, after 15 years of service.
Traditionally known for its residential group homes and other services for youth under state custody, Family Ministries, under Kilgore's leadership, grew to include a multitude of services in a three-state area.
Those services include a crisis pregnancy center in Greeneville, youth group homes in Arkansas, and assisted-living facilities in Wise, Va., and in Erwin.
"We are now reaping the benefits of Dr. Kilgore's dreams," Woods said.
He noted that Kilgore is currently out-of-town and was not able to attend Thursday's event.
The new school addition has been designed by architect John Fisher, who attended the ground-breaking ceremony.
In designing the new building, which will be located at the entrance to the Family Ministries' campus, Fisher said he aimed to put "a welcoming face" on the grounds.
He pointed out that Family Ministries has been "quietly serving" children in need since 1939.
This new educational facility, Fisher said, will serve as a further example of "all that is good and right" about the Christian-based ministry, and will be a place where the youth it serves can find "hope and a sense of purpose."
Jeff Idell, whose company, Idell Construction, will be building the facility, said that Family Ministries does "tremendous work" in the lives of the youth it serves.
"This will be a beautiful facility for these young people," Idell added.
Roger Hood, a former executive director of Family Ministries, was also on hand at the event.
Hood, who now lives in Alabama, reminded those gathered of the long-standing mission of Family Ministries.
"We not only want to change the lives of these youth," he said, "but we also want more than anything for them to have an eternal life with God."