Nelsonville Community Center To Close At End Of Year

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Nelsonville Community Center, a nonprofit organization that provided services to the residents around the area, has announced it will close due to lack of funding.

The director and founder, Rhonda Bentley, says,  "short of some kind of miraculous intervention, the center will have to close at the end of the year."

Bentley has worked at the Center since 1999, when Athens County Children Services established the center to support families and teach parenting skills.  In 2009, Bentley formed a non-profit to continue the center on her own after the center lost its funding from the Athens County agency.

The center was in danger of closing in November 2010 after overextending itself helping victims and families of a tornado in the area.

The center provided social interaction classes to preschool age children, parental support services, drug and alcohol education for school-age children, Friday free lunches and information about other available resources.

It's staffed entirely by volunteers, says Bentley.

On the center's Facebook page, people shared memories and gratitude toward the center.

"Rhonda … I am very sorry! You really gave your best to your community. You will be missed!" wrote one poster.

Bentley says she is cleaning the center and plans to sell some things to pay bills. She will donate other supplies to churches.

"My heart is broken," Bentley said. "… This has been the most wonderful time of my life. I've met the most wonderful people and I'm going to miss it."