Sav-A-Child enriches lives

Published 7:31 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022

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The Sav-A-Child Center is not a daycare or after-school babysitting service. It is a place where children come to learn, study, and realize that they and their dreams truly matter.

Serving ages kindergarten through eighth grade, the center, located at 118 Bolling Street in Greenville, is open from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

“The parents drop off their children and pick them up,” said Rev. Gloria Johnson, the owner, director, teacher, secretary, janitor, and more for the center.

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A retired educator from Alabama State University, Johnson served as director of the Early Childhood Center in the College of Education. She taught the students pursuing a degree in Education how to teach math and science to children.

But retirement wasn’t what she wanted. 

“I really enjoy giving back,” Johnson said. “Everything here at the center is strictly on a volunteer basis. I have retired teachers with at least a Master’s Degree. They are like-minded people who give of their time, talents and resources.

“It has been so rewarding. It makes me feel good to put my head on the pillow at night. I know I’ve given it my all.”

Her personal quote for life is: “If I ever woke up and there were no children, I’d scream as loud as I could, ‘take me to wherever the children are.’ Because children are a gift from God. They are the most precious commodity we will ever have in life.”

She wants parents to realize that their child is a gift.

“Sav-A-Child is impactful in three ways,” Johnson said. “There are three components to Sav-A-Child. One, on the academic side, we try to provide tutorial labs with math and reading.

Two, we help build character education. We teach them about conflict resolution. Three, We offer hope and inspiration to them through bringing in persons to come in to read and talk to them.”

The Center has had several visitors, including Judge Nikkie McFerrin.

“Persons who I think are influential, who would be a voice that the children could look up to and want to be like. Because they are going to be leaders, whether you help them be good leaders or weak leaders,” said Johnson.

This summer, the center took a walking field trip to the ribbon-cutting at the Hank Williams/Rufus “Tee-Tot” Payne mural in downtown Greenville.

Johnson would like to take the children on some field trips outside the city limits. Perhaps to ASU to watch a football game or the W. A. Gayle Planetarium when it opens back up or even to the Alabama Safari Park.

While the center is a nonprofit, charitable organization, they receive no Federal or State funding. It is supported solely by the community it serves. 

There is no fee to attend Sav-A-Child, but there is a donation of $10 a week to help cover the cost of the after-school snacks for the kids. 

Last year, Butler Chapel Church sponsored three children, paying for each child’s snacks for one year,  a $1,560 sponsorship. 

“Little becomes much when it’s placed in His hands,” Johnson said.

When asked what she needed for the center, Johnson said more volunteers would be helpful.

“High schoolers are more than welcome to come by,” she said.

Johnson added the center could use cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, office supplies, printer ink, and paper. Books for the children to read are always welcomed and monetary donations are much appreciated.

Johnson can be reached at the Center or by phone at (334) 368-1124. Sav-A-Child can be found on Facebook by searching for Sav-A-Child Outreach Center.