By Clint Parker
Leicester – Last week the Leicester Community Center Board elected new officers for 2019. After nine years at guiding the center Greg Brookshire stepped down as president of the group. Taking over as the president is Leicester native Marie Whitener. Whitener is the first woman to serve as president of the center.
“I thought I could do the job and volunteered,” said Whitener about deciding to become president. Asked how long she’d been active with the center, Whitener answered, “This time about six and a half years.” Born and raised in the Leicester Community, Whitener told the Leader that there were three community centers in the Leicester area: Sandy Mush, Newfound and Leicester. “We’re all independent and owned by the community,” said Whitener
Asked about the importance of community centers, especially for the Leicester Community, Whitener said, “Well, it’s just like the Welcome Table (the center’s once-a-week community meal). It gives people a place to come and have someone to talk to…the kids and adults use the playground, the walking tracks, basketball court, dog walks.”
The community center can also be rented out for events in addition to its use for community events such has Heritage Day. A list of activities is found on the center’s calendar located on their webpage (https://sites.google.com/site/leicestercommunitycenter/).
Joining Whitener as part of the new leadership at the community center is Fred Myers who is now vice-president. During the interview with the Leader, Myers joined Whitener as she was naming off a number of jobs that Myers provides for the center. “I have a lot of free time,” he joked.
Growing up in Asheville and spending time in Massachusetts for 40 years, Myers came back to the Leicester area in 2013. “I’m very interested in history so I wanted to know about the area, and so one of the first things I did was come to the community center meeting,” Myers said about getting involved at the community center. “Then I was in too deep.”
“We’d like to see it grow with involvement from the community,” Whitener said when asked about future plans for the center. “That is a task for any group of volunteers, to keep membership and get new people involved.” Whitener suggests that anyone looking to help out at the center to “just show up” at one of the monthly meetings on the second Tuesday night of the month at 7 pm.