Pastor Edna Scott Walthour of Next Level Ministries credits God with granting her a vision 11 years ago to build a youth center in her community of Holmestown. This past Saturday, Liberty County community leaders and descendants of Jack and Chloe Elliott Singleton made that vision real by breaking ground on the Singleton Center as Holmestown residents looked on.
The 2-acre site for the center was donated by heirs of the Susan Singleton Waye Estate, including Nancy Bady, Ida Mae Holmes, Viola Henry, Helen Scott and James Waye. The project site is located next to Holmestown Park on Westfield Road in Midway.
Walthour has been communicating with Roy and Lottie Brown of the Boys and Girls Club of Miami/Dade, Fla., and with other groups, like the United Way of the Coastal Empire, and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to assist her as she moves the project along. She hopes to give youth “on the outer edge of the county” direction and a solid foundation through the center’s proposed programs. Walthour said she and project supporters intend to follow the Boys and Girls Club curriculum. Plans for the center include a gym, tutorial services, instruction in entrepreneurial and life skills, arts and crafts activities and performing arts.
“We want to do the best we can (for the community),” Walthour said. She said in the past, children spent a lot of time with their parents. “Times have changed,” the pastor said.
Several local leaders spoke about Holmestown’s past, and the steps they need to take to make a better future for the community’s children.
Walthour spoke about the people who founded Holmestown, individuals in the African American community who worked hard and made a difference, including farmers, entrepreneurs, educators and church founders.
“Every young child that comes out here has to hear about this history,” State Rep. Al Williams said. “Nobody can save you but you,” Williams added.
“Kids don’t listen to the parents like they used to. Parents don’t take kids to church like they used to,” Deacon Donald Golden, Sr., said. Golden said the community progressed despite struggling to make ends meet.
“Times were hard – but we stuck together,” Golden said.
Other prominent citizens, including pastors and elected officials, were present at the groundbreaking ceremony, including Liberty County Commissioner Marion Stevens, Liberty County Board of Education Chair Lily Baker, BOE member Marcus Scott, Hinesville City Council Member Vicky Nelson, Bishop Frederick A. McIver and Darien Mayor Pro-Tem Griffin Lotson. Descendants of the Elliott/Singleton family included Caesar Singleton, Pastor Geraldine Nelson, Howard Scott, Linda Bennett, Terry Barrett, Luceria Lucky Lovette, Edward J. Robertson, James H. Waye and Reginald Bacon.