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21st Cares: Wesley House

The Wesley House Community Center was established in 1907 with the goal of providing childcare for children in Brookside Mills. Today, Wesley House focuses on providing high-quality, affordable, and accessible childcare, social connection to the senior citizen population, and tending to any of the needs of the 37921 zip code. The organization uses the CARES, STEP, and WISE programs to meet its organizational goals, as well as the community that Wesley House intends to serve. There are many ways to support the Wesley House, whether through monetary supportor volunteer work.

This week, a team from 21st Mortgage donated a few hours of their week to volunteer at Wesley House. They described it as a “little slice of Heaven” placed in an old elementary school, aimed at serving the Mechanicsville, Lonsdale, and Beaumont communities. When everything is going wrong for these kids and local seniors, Wesley House makes it right. With only seven full-time employees and 14 part-time employees, staff members at Wesley House are constantly stretched thin; they not only run programs for seniors and kids, but also utilize a mobile food pantry that serves around 300 people weekly. As a result of COVID, Wesley House was at half-staff the day that 21st Mortgage team members volunteered, which meant all hands on deck for everyone.

The team jumped right in to help a group of third graders with homework, and even challenged some fourth graders to a menacing game of mancala. No matter the task, these kids, as well as the staff, just needed an extra set of hands – or six, in our case.

“The most rewarding thing for me was helping the kids with homework and seeing the trust and acceptance that they had interacting with us. They seem to know that Wesley House provides them with safety.” – Julie Sharp

As we left, one of the kids came up to hug our team leader, Stephanie – this cemented the fact that these kids found comfort in knowing that the community cares and supports them.

“What I find most rewarding about this service project is that it brought to light the drive and determination that the people of Knoxville have when it comes to raising up the community. Being able to see the students come to a place that devotes time, money, and love into each one of them and ask nothing in return from their families was amazing to witness firsthand.” – Kelsey Wright

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