On January 19, 2018, the Activity Center on Sunrise’s Woodlawn Center campus in Danville, Kentucky was destroyed by fire. The following is from the boys’ perspectives.
“When the fire started, we were in the classroom,” began 17-year-old Caleb.* “At first, we smelled something weird. We weren’t allowed to look outside.”
When 12-year-old Mark* heard of the fire, his first reaction was to shout, “No, no, no!” Eight-year-old Jeremy’s* concern was about the safety of others. Thankfully, there were no injuries, due in large part to the calming presence of the staff and the swift response from first responders.
“The fire department came very quickly,” reported Lena Kline, Woodlawn Center Program Director. “But within an hour, it was a total loss.” All 27 boys were promptly transported to First Baptist Church, Danville.
Once they arrived, the staff made sure the kids had games, things to do, and snacks. Parents were called, and a room was set up to take care of medications. One of the church members came over with a TV for the kids to watch. “It was really fun staying at the church!” exclaimed Jeremy. Most of the boys spent the night and all went back to campus the next day.
Dealing with the loss of the Activity Center will be difficult. “Every Friday we went down there and cooked,” explained Caleb. That was my favorite thing to do.” The building was a community center and was used multiple times every single day for recreation, life skills training, development, and cooking classes. It was the only place for all the kids to gather together for special events.
The boys have since walked by the remains of the Activity Center and asked, “When are we going to get a new one?” I am telling them, “Very, very soon!” If you would like to give a donation to help replace our Activity Center, visit our CrowdRise page: www.crowdrise.com/sunriseactivitycenter.
There’s something else: “Continue to be thankful that everyone is safe and that we keep doing the best work we can,” shared Stacy Phegley, Woodlawn Center Residential Manager. Caleb added, “Pray that the Activity Center will be fixed quickly.”
Please pray. Give if you can. And don’t give up hope. Through the efforts of many, Sunrise will move from tragedy to triumph.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of our clients.