It takes a village

Published 7:29 pm Thursday, May 7, 2009

By Staff
Mills-Sadler helps Boys and Girls Club initiate makeover
Contributing Editor
Alice Mills-Sadler, the new chief professional officer for the Beaufort County Boys and Girls Club, is working up a sweat as she directs the club’s Village Initiative.
The program enlists club members, their parents, club staff, volunteers, businesses and others to help renovate and repair the club’s headquarters in the former Bridge Street Recreation Center in Washington.
The goal is to make the headquarters a safer, more attractive facility. The club also has a facility in Belhaven.
On her second day at her new job, Mills-Sadler arrived at work wearing jeans and a bandana, prepared to get dirty as she and others cleaned up, repaired and beautified the Washington facility.
Mills-Sadler, who began her new job April 20, is confident the Village Initiative will produce desired results and plans to hold an open house within 60 days. To that end, painters, carpenters, masons and the like have committed to being a part of the program.
That interest is important because the club doesn’t have the funds to pay workers, Mills-Sadler said. Because of the lack of funds, “sweat equity” is needed from club staff, club members, their families and others in the community. What money the club has goes toward children’s programs and staffing, she said.
Brad Horton with Horton Contracting is helping Mills-Sadler with the program.
Horton said he also provided help modifying the facility’s bathrooms and cost estimates for construction materials.
Mills-Sadler said she came to a realization on her first day on her new job: It’s a challenge more than a job, and it’s one for which she has a passion, she said.
Important elements of that challenge, Mills-Sadler said, are fixing up the club’s Washington facility and strengthening program offerings and community support at the Washington and Belhaven facilities.
Improving collaborative efforts between the two facilities is also on her list of priorities, she said, enough so that she plans to spend some time at the Belhaven facility each week.
Mills-Sadler also said she wants members’ families and community to be better informed about what the Boys and Girls Club has to offer, which is more than just after-school fun and games. It offers health-related, educational and character-building programs, she said.
Mills-Sadler, a Washington native, has been an educator most of her adult life. Seven years ago, she retired from the Beaufort County school system as its assistant superintendent and grant-writer. She has worked as a technology and curriculum trainer for Scantron in Irvine, Calif., as a principal in the Wilson County school system and as a turnaround specialist for School Turnaround in upstate New York.
St. Clair said Mills-Sadler possessed one skill that gave her an edge over other applicants for the CPO position.
St. Clair said he and other directors want the club to embrace more of the community it serves.
Mills-Sadler agrees, saying, “We want to become more diversified. It’s not just geared to a certain culture or neighborhood.”
Those wishing to assist with the Village Initiative should contact the club’s Washington office at 252-940-0139.
Cutline for corresponding photo: Pungo Christian School student Jacob Whitesell, 5, plays basketball Wednesday morning with Alice Mills-Sadler at the Boys and Girls Club of Beaufort County. Mills-Sadler is the organization’s chief professional officer. (WDN Photo/Paul Dunn)