Dream Center Academy, a private after school program in Gastonia, has spent nearly seven years helping students achieve their dreams.
This year, with some help from the community, Dream Center Academy achieved some dreams of their own.
On Thursday, Sept. 28, the academy held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the new fitness room.
Since its creation in 2017, the academy has resided in a building owned by First Assembly of God, located at 635 S. Myrtle School Road in Gastonia.
The building was once a school building, which gave the academy access to 12 classrooms in one wing, and four more in the other wing, according to Dream Center Academy Executive Director Roxann Jimison.
Last year, former Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell visited Dream Center Academy and offered to make a $25,000 donation toward the renovation of four classrooms.
Those renovations have since been completed, and the school has been enjoying the extra space, Jimison said.
This year, Bell visited the school once again, and offered to make a $15,000 donation to help with another renovation project.
“He asked what we needed,” Jimison said. “We’ve always wanted to have a fitness room for our high schoolers,”
Darron Glenn, owner of Hollywood Fit Gym in Gastonia had also made contributions to the academy before.
The academy reached out to him for guidance on the new fitness center, and Glenn ended up planning the space, ordering the equipment, and having it set up himself.
He also held a fundraiser at his gym to raise the last $6,000 needed to complete the renovations.
The total cost of the fitness center was $21,000.
“This has been a very special project because having a safe and healthy environment (where) these kids can escape the everyday stress of schoolwork and social pressure, they face is much needed,” Glenn said. “The kids these days deal with way more than we did in our past.”
“They will have a place they can work on having good health and learning to push themselves daily and improve their confidence,” Glenn added.
Dream Center Academy students have opportunities to participate in several different clubs for the last hour of the program.
The new fitness center will be the home base of the academy’s fitness club.
“When I have a workout routine, I feel a lot better physically and mentally,” Jimison said. “That’s what we hope it will become, something that benefits them physically and mentally.”