The Claymont Community Center

By Earl Whipple

Recently my team and I volunteered a half day at the Claymont Community Centerin Claymont, DE. We spent an afternoon outside and inside painting, sealing, filing and organizing, and sprucing up classrooms.

Claymont Community Center was founded in 1974 and has been a staple in the north Wilmington community. Unfortunately, the economy over the past few years has really had a deep impact on non profit centers and the people they support and help. At Claymont, folks utilize the center for medical and child care, food, adult education, as well as substance abuse treatment, and these people have had to rely on the center more so at a time when donations are down and center resources are stretched to their fullest capacity. The Center is a member of the Healthy Delawareans Coalition and serves approximately 5,000 clients each year and sees more than 200,000 visits each year.

We felt good spending even just half a day and were thankful for the opportunity to give and receive. I won’t bore you with quotes on volunteerism but all too often we think of giving as two-way connection – I see it as a reinforcing circle. Sometimes you give a little like an afternoon and you get more back in surprising ways. I’m a bit of a history buff and while I was volunteering at Claymont I learned the facility is deeply intertwined in our nation’s history.

The building was originally constructed in 1924 for Claymont High School. Claymont High School was the first public school in the 17 segregated states of our nation to legally integrate in 1952. The peaceful integration was a cornerstone in the Brown v. Board of Education decision making segregation illegal. One of the original classrooms displays artifacts from that historic time.

One member of my team proclaimed “it was such a great, rewarding and productive experience.” It brought to my mind a quote from the great Muhammad Ali who once said “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” For us, we left there feeling we received much more than we gave so we plan to return pay a little more rent.

It is great to work for a company that values public service and volunteerism. Thanks to Claymont for giving us this opportunity and thanks to Alex, Gigi, Leah, Rebecca, Tom, and especially Tinesha for making it a great day.