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Lowe’s Volunteers graciously assist in remodel efforts for new Migrant Education Center

lowes group photo

Lowe’s Volunteers Graciously Assist in Remodel Efforts for New Migrant Education Center

                Just before the start of school, the former Wayne County Preschool Center located off South Main Street (behind the softball field) was buzzing with activity in regard to an exciting remodeling project. The facility was being redone from ‘head to toe’, thanks to a grant received from the Lowe’s Home Improvement Corporation, to meet the needs of the district’s highly successful and ever growing Migrant Education Program in Wayne County estimated by the Regional Migrant Officials to reach 80-90 students by February 1.

                The new sleek look inside provides a welcoming atmosphere that is being used to provide federally required meetings, activities and events for our migrant students and families. The building also houses donations provided by the Christian Appalachian Project in addition to other donors that support our Migrant Education Program. Also housed there is The Cardinal Newcomer Academy (formerly located across the street from the high school) which provides instruction to enhance English language skills of newly arrived middle and high school aged students from other countries.

The Director of the Migrant Education, Brian Ford wears several hats for the school system serving also as Director of ESL, Title III, for over 140 EL students and over 250 Hispanic students in our district, District Grant Writer, World Language Specialist, and Board Chairman of the Wayne County Educational Foundation Inc. 501 C 3. The bottom line is “We love our students and families and we want to give them all the resources they need to be successful,” said Ford.

                So, in that spirit, not only did Lowe’s supply employees from their Somerset store to work on the job, but they also got the ball rolling with a generous Lowe’s Charitable and Education Foundation Toolbox for Education Grant for approximately $10,000.

“We can’t thank Lowes enough for all the help in getting our new Migrant Education Center on its feet. We want to make this a state-of-the-art facility for our migrant students and families to utilize,” said Wayne County Migrant Education Director, Brian Ford. “We were especially grateful for the manpower they supplied to get the facility painted in such an efficient manner. We had students and adults who volunteered their time to make this happen and we are so appreciative. ”

“We look forward to the new opportunities that our Migrant Education Center will afford us in expanding services to our students and families,” said Shannon Foster, who assists with the Migrant Education Program. Foster explained that the Migrant Education Center would be used to support: career and college readiness, English as a Second Language evening classes, guest speakers throughout the year, migrant education events, migrant family events, and summer events for the migrant education program this year, just to name a few.

For more than two decades, Lowe’s Heroes volunteers have donated their time to make communities better places to live. Wayne County’s heroes for this project included Somerset Lowe’s employees: Assistant Store Manager John VanNice, CSA5 Dennis Nartker, CSA5 Jordan Butte, CSA4 Ashley Blanton, and Home Décor Department employee Sandra Meeks. Wayne County High School students who logged some community service hours included: Emmersen VanNice, Kaylee Julius, and Sarah Parmley.

“This was a great opportunity for us,” said John VanNice, who is also a Wayne County School parent. “They had gotten the grant and needed help. If we find out about a need in the community like this, we try to help.”

The store pays the employees for their time, but allows them to be absent and provide “give back time” to a non-profit project. “All of the Lowe’s stores encourage their employees to participate in a community based event each year,” explained VanNice. “It feels good to do something like this…to know you are helping an organization.”  

Since its inception in 2005, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education has provided more than $45 million in grants to more than 10,000 schools, benefiting more than 6 million schoolchildren. Grants are available to K-12 public schools in the United States for a wide range of improvement projects. Schools may be eligible to receive Toolbox grants up to $100,000.

Since 1957, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has helped improve communities across North America through financial contributions and support for employee volunteerism. Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects.  Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $250 million to these efforts.



Lowe's employees were joined by local students in providing labor for the remodel efforts at the new Migrant Center. Volunteers included:

Front Row (L-R): Ashley Blanton, Sandra Meeks, Emerson VanNice, Kaylee Julius, and Sarah Parmley

Back Row (L-R): Dennis Nartker, John VanNice, Brian Ford, and Mark McKinley


Brian Ford shared a laugh with Lowe's volunteer Sandra Meeks


Sophomore Emerson VanNice and her father John VanNice


Lowe's Volunteers Jordan Butte and John VanNice rolling on paint


Sophomore Sarah Parmley and Junior Kaylee Julius paint a classroom wall
lowes worker plants a flower

Lisa Estes, a lawn and nursery specialist at Lowe's, worked in the landscape area and planted roses




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