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Training center teaches lessons for life

Newspapers are piled high on the table, ready to be stacked and tied into bundles for recycling. Although it is a slow day with not too many papers, the clients at the Butler Adult Training Center are still excited to be there.

"O.K., everybody, start stacking," Elnoria Grayson, teacher's aide at the center, cheerily tells the group of seven workers. Words of encouragement flow around the room, as well as friendly chatter, as the group works diligently to organize the disarray of newspapers scattered about the room.

The center, which serves Butler, Coffee and Crenshaw counties, offers a program that helps the community, the center and the environment, all at the same time.

For almost twenty years, there have been two recycling programs available at the center, one for newspapers and the other for aluminum cans. Members of the community can drop off their old newspapers and cans at the center or at one of many drop-off locations in the city of Greenville.

"It really benefits them a lot because it gives them a chance to make money to buy the things they want," Grayson said. "We take them shopping at Wal-Mart occasionally, and sometimes even to Montgomery."

Each Thursday, the newspapers and cans are picked up and taken to the center. The 34 adults at the center are split into groups and take turns stacking newspapers and tying them with twine, so they can be recycled. Each person is paid based on how many bundles are picked up.

Shelia Martin, acting coordinator for the Bulter Adult Training Center, said the opportunity for those at the center to earn money is priceless.

"It helps them to have a better quality of life and integrate themselves more into the community," Martin said.

Aside from the recycling program, the center also offers other opportunities for those at the center to learn and earn money. The center holds a car wash on occasion, washing the Greenville Mental Health buses when requested and vehicles from members of the community.

Each one of the adults who participate receives minimum wage, plus a chance to have some fun in the sun.

The center also offers those in the community with gardens to bring their peas to them to shell for $5 a bushel.

Three of the adults work in the community, holding jobs and looking forward to their responsibilities they have there.

Other adults attend the center five days a week for five hours per day, some being transported by BATC buses and others walking the short distance from the Ada Lee Williams Group Home located next to the center.

Most importantly, the United Fund Drive held each year by the center is coming up on October 20, offering the community a chance to buy prime Boston butts for $17 a ticket. Tickets will go on sale in September, and all proceeds go to benefit the center.

For now, though, those at the center ask for help from the community in donating newspapers and cans, continuing to help make life better for a few tri-county residents. There is a drop-off point at the center on

Hardscramble Road in a shed to the right of the facility, or items can be dropped off at bins at the Nutritional Center, Greenville-Butler County Library, Whitney Bank, Alabama Grill, Jameson Inn or behind The Greenville Advocate office.