Stephen & Susan Parr Family Learning Center Opens

Stephen & Susan Parr Family Learning Center Opens

A collaboration between the United Way of Wayne County and WAGES resulted in the dedication and Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, ribbon cutting of the Stephen and Susan Parr Family Learning Center at 243 Sleep Creek Road in Dudley.

Greg Shackelford, past United Way of Wayne County Board Chair welcomed guests and thanked the sponsors of the project including: First Congregational Church of Dudley, Allen Grading Company, Wayne County Public Library, Goldsboro Builders Supply, Goldsboro Rotary Club and of course WAGES. He also recognized the ongoing work of Board member, Bethany Perry and WAGES, project manager, Michael Best for keeping the project on track.

Parr, the previous United Way director of 30 years, and his wife, Susan, returned to Goldsboro to attend the event. Humbled by the recognition, Parr reflected on the brainstorming that happened between he and Wayne County Public Library Director, Donna Phillips, stating it all started on a napkin and over coffee. “It’s remarkable, remarkable, Susan and I are humbled to see our name on this, that was a passion and commitment of 30 years work.” Parr said when reflecting on the need to serve children at birth to prepare for 3rd grading reading.

Donna Phillips, Director of Wayne County Public Library said, “We are thrilled to be here!” She went on to share how “early investments in our children can change the trajectory of their life. we are investing in Dudley’s young families. This project is a shining example of one of the things WAGES, and I would say, United Way and certainly Early Head Start do best, they mobilize the community to create resources and environments necessary to provide an array of services” Reflecting on the naming of the center, she said “After 30 years of strong fiscal and community leadership, the United Way of Wayne County Board of Directors, in collaboration with WAGES, were pleased to honor Steve Parr, by naming the facility after he and his wife Susan.”

The Goldsboro Rotary Club contributed to the project by way of donation for the purchase of all classroom books.

Finally, Executive Director of WAGES, Patricia Beier, rounded up the program to talk about sustainability, “This was a community collaboration. Everything from the donor, to Steve’s vision, to Donna to Dr. Tayloe to First Congregational Church. We had the donation, but, now, we were able to expand to Early Head Start for a Federal contribution.” “We are so excited! Beginning this Wednesday, children and families will be served.”

A community need to improve the reading proficiency of our 3rd grade students created a solution in the Stephen and Susan Parr Family Learning Center. “It was a process to get there,” said Sherry Archibald, Executive Director of the United Way of Wayne County, “with many moving parts, including a generous and anonymous donation, a group of community leaders to address the needs, identifying location in the community and identifying property twice, as well as a world-wide pandemic.” “Despite the intermittent rainstorms, it was a happy occasion.”