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The newly remodeled Welker Smucker Culinary Arts Center was named after Welker Smucker, a man who devoted his retired life to serving the youth at Boys’ Village. Smucker retired from The J.M. Smucker Company in 1956 and treated each boy in The Village Network’s care as if he were his son.

Smucker passed away in 1971, but Vice President of Corporate Communications at The J.M. Smucker Company Maribeth Burns said she thinks Smucker would be pleased about The Village Network’s growth since his involvement.

“We know Welker would be proud to see how many students The Village Network has impacted today,” Burns said.

In addition to Smucker’s philanthropic history with The Village Network, Burns said the new center also aligns with The J.M. Smucker Company’s purpose, making the renovation an ideal investment.

“As a company, our purpose is to help bring families together to share memorable meals and moments,” Burns said. “We believe the culinary arts program at The Village Network not only supports this purpose, but is also something that would have been important to Welker Smucker. It gives students the foundation and skills to build a career in the culinary arts that will assist in their long-term success and independence.”

Wayne County Schools Career Center (WCSCC) also chose to invest in the Welker Smucker Culinary Arts Center by training six staff at The Village Network.

WCSCC has been a partner of The Village Network for three years and offers The Village Network mentoring services for its vocational programming. In exchange, The Village Network supplies counseling and case management services to some students studying at WCSCC.

The Village Network’s six staff members were trained through on sight observation days at WCSCC where staff were able to observe and replicate WCSCC programs at the Welker Smucker Culinary Arts Center. WCSCC trainers also came to Boys’ Village to provide demonstrations and curriculum and lesson plan support.

“We saw an avenue to expand career tech education for students at The Village Network and wanted to partner with them to give their students another pathway to success,” said Lynn Moomaw, director of operations and adult education at WCSCC.

The Welker Smucker Culinary Arts Center renovation is just the start of The Village Network’s remodel and reconstruction projects. We’ll be actively working on renovations at all our locations throughout the year. Learn about our next renovation in our third post, Next Steps: Gym Reconstruction.

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