GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - North Gulfport welcomed a new place of learning into the community. It's called the North Gulfport Education Center. The center sits on the land where the old Good Deeds Library once stood.
"This is a wonderful day, a proud day for the North Gulfport community," says Rose Johnson, North Gulfport Community Land Trust.
The North Gulfport Community Land Trust opened the building with help from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation donated $50,000 for the project.
Many of the charter members of the Good Deeds Association, some now in their 80's and 90's, were present for the celebration. They, along with Rev. Orlo Kauffman and the Mennonite church, were the visionaries who bought the land and built the old Good Deeds library back in the 1965.
"I feel that Rev. Orlo Kauffman, the Mennonites and the original Good Deeds members would be very proud of this building," says Rose Johnson, North Gulfport Community Land Trust.
The library and pool that once sat on the property had fallen into disrepair over the years. But, now, a new generation of young leaders will learn and grow at the North Gulfport Community Education Center.
"It's a fulfillment of a life's dream...to see somebody else come in here since the Kauffman's who resurrected it from ground," says Gaynette Flowers, Good Deeds charter member.
Dorothy Knight who spoke during the ceremony served as the first librarian of the Good Deeds Library.
"I know I'm giving back, and I'm giving back in a way that makes me happy," said Knight.
Knight will work as a tutor at the center along with other volunteers from the community. They will assist the children after school with a special curriculum where they will work on reading, English, math and science skills. The center also has a computer lab and will also offer parenting classes.
"We're just so excited starting off this new year with the opening of this education center not only for Rev. Kauffman but for the dream of Dr. King, that was his dream for children to have equal opportunity for equal education," says Johnson.
The North Gulfport Community Education Center is located at 15088 Madison Street.