BY MICHAEL LIVINGSTON
Affectionately called “Grandma” by the people in Cardinal Village, it only makes sense that Constance Covington, the community’s matriarch, will have the youth center named after her.
“I’m still on cloud nine,” she said of the ceremony. “I like doing what I do on a daily basis … to have something named after me and I see it before I go to my heavenly home, it’s really wonderful.”
The board of directors and staff of the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will have a building dedication to rename the Cardinal Village Youth Center after Covington. The event takes place on Saturday afternoon at 1004 Bonner Ave.
The youth center humbly began nine years ago in the summer of 2006 in Covington’s residence in Cardinal Village. It lasted there for six months before she took her endeavor to the first floor of an apartment building owned by the housing authority on Chatham Avenue from the fall of 2006 to 2011.
From 2011 to now, the youth center has been at its Bonner Avenue location. It was created by Covington as a safe place for youth.
“I wanted to give the kids a place to go that was safe,” she said of the youth center. “It’s for them to come in and get help with their homework and school projects, and share what was going on with them.”
The center is open to youth from Cardinal Village and the surrounding area. Along with games, arts and crafts and tutoring, the center provides etiquette and social skills training, and movie nights.
“We don’t turn anyone away,” she said.
Residents “ages 2 to 80 call me Grandma,” she said. Covington does more for the Cardinal Village community than just give the youth a safe place.
She is the president of the Cardinal Village Residents Association and a member of the housing authority. She holds monthly meetings with residents and management to discuss upcoming programs and issues within the community.
At the end of the meeting, residents are offered snacks, medicine, vitamins and other necessities as their reward for attending, courtesy of God’s Pit Crew. At Tuesday’s meeting, close to a dozen packs of Gatorade were available.
Local businesses, churches and organizations donate items, funds and resources to Covington to assist her. Whatever money Covington raises, the housing authority will match the funds, she said.
“I’m excited, but [the kids] are really excited about this name change.”
Livingston reports for the Danville Register & Bee.
(Reprinted with permission from the Danville Register & Bee, originally printed November 12, 2015)