FACE forward

The current class of Leadership Hunt County is raising money to help ensure that students and families in Commerce ISD are happy, healthy and ready to learn.

The class, which is administered by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, begins each year in September and graduates in May. Leadership Hunt County classes meet monthly and discuss a wide range of topics, says Kasey Smith with LHC.

“Leadership Hunt County is designed to help potential and aspiring leaders get to know their community better and what resources are available,” Smith said.

Each year’s class has to come up with a project to complete throughout the year, and the 2018-19 class has chosen to raise money for a community center in Commerce.

The Commerce ISD Family and Community Engagement, or F.A.C.E. Center, was created in late 2017 when the school district began refurbishing the former Career and Technology Center located behind Commerce Middle School, which had been used as a storage facility at the time. Since then, the center has been steadily expanding operations and offering things like counseling for grandparents raising children, dyslexic children parenting support groups and more. 

Coming to the center in the future is a school-based health facility run by Carevide that would be open to CISD students, and possibly employees and families in the future.

Smith said that LHC had many ideas for their project, but after narrowing down proposals, decided to focus on the FACE Center to provide the most impact.

“With many students in Commerce ISD falling into the low-socioeconomic designation, we felt that providing funds to increase the amount of services offered at the FACE Center would be a great benefit for the community.”

The current leadership class is hoping to raise $30,000 by the end of May for the center. The funds would go toward installing shower facilities and hookups for washers and dryers at the FACE Center, as well as refurbishing the building’s kitchen area to allow for larger events like cooking and nutrition courses. The project is called “FACE Forward.”

“Some kids are hindered in school because maybe they don’t have running water at home or clean clothes to wear,” Smith said. “If the FACE Center can provide these services, then kids and families have less to worry about when it comes to receiving an education.”

Smith added that as of last week, the class had raised roughly $15,000 out of their goal and are still seeking donations.

“We really want to set these kids up for success,” Smith said.

Commerce ISD employee Kathy Myers, who helps direct the FACE Center, says that the outpouring of support has been unbelievable.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” Myers said. “We’ve really been overwhelmed with the support this project has gotten so far.”

Myers said that there was a lot of excitement around the fundraiser.

“Commerce is a generous community, and they have a direct way to impact the lives of students, so they have really taken to that,” Myers said.

She added that the new additions to the center could have a dramatic positive effect on education in Commerce.

“With these facilities, we hope to increase attendance and amount of instruction time, keeping kids in school,” Myers said. “Happy, healthy and safe students come to school better prepared to learn.”

To send a donation by mail, send checks to “Hunt County Leadership F.A.C.E. Project,” 2713 Stonewall Street, Greenville, TX 75402, and make checks payable to the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Foundation. An online donation link via Facebook can be found at http://bit.ly/2Zkn7ta.