The Upper Room of Franklin County opened in March 2012 and closed at the end of November. Most recently serving on the Board of Directors were Ken & Polly Brown, Jane Klenke, Mark Reese, Tammy Davis, and Derek Herbert. Several volunteers provided a range of services to meet physical, spiritual, educational, and professional needs of Franklin County residents.
For instance, Upper Room founder Ken Brown has been the organizer for bringing the Gleaners Mobile Food Pantry to Brookville since 2013. November was Ken’s last month to serve as director.
For the past couple of years, on Wednesday evenings, Derek Herbert has held a teen Bible study with a dedicated group of youth who end their evening with fellowship and pizza. Fortunately, this Bible study will continue at the Works of Mercy Center on Wednesdays from 6:30-8 p.m.
Additionally, the Upper Room Education Center has offered many learning opportunities. Classes were provided for adult students who wanted to take the high school equivalency exam. The instructor was paid from a grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation. Twelve students graduated in this past year. Adult Literacy services were also available. After-school homework help has been given to middle and high school students who wanted some assistance completing their assignments. Tutors Ken Litteken, Polly Brown, Kathy O’Bryan, Judy Drake and Mickie Sauerland have volunteered their time to help. The Education Center also had a small computer lab for on-line learning and credit recovery, job application/resume writing, job search and career exploration.
Adult Education classes continue at The Government Center on Tuesdays & Thursdays,
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The computers have been donated to Works of Mercy.
Furthermore, time has been invested in talking with students about career planning, post-secondary education options and other life skills. Each week, a Work One advisor was available at the center to help those who want complete a short-term certification in programs such as CNA, HVAC, EMT, or CDL-Class A. An Ivy Tech admissions personnel came to the Education Center once a month to meet with potential students and answer questions on degree programs, financial aid, and more. She also conducted a FAFSA workshop last spring.
As a community service, the Upper Room Education Center has provided all of these services free to the students. However, there has been a cost to rent the facility and pay the utilities. Unfortunately, the donations received have not been enough to keep the doors open, and the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization has had to dissolve.