BETHESDA- Long-term Belmont County resident Mary Lee Powell generously donated $15,000 to replace the gymnasium floor at the New Horizons Campus of The Village Network in Bethesda, Ohio.
To celebrate Powell and her donation, The Village Network will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house Tuesday, June 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bethesda campus. Attendees will receive a free boxed lunch from Riesbeck’s, tours of the campus and hear a child‘s testimony about what the new gym floor means to him.
“I’m fairly new to The Village Network and to see that the community is invested in what we’re doing with the kids is so rewarding for me,” said Mark Ingles, southeast regional director at The Village Network. “This donation says a lot about the reputation of The Village Network in the area and about Mary Lee providing for kids in this kind of situation.”
Since 1946, The Village Network has been a leader in caring for traumatized children and their families in Ohio and West Virginia. At its Bethesda, Ohio location, children can experience healing in the residential care program, which is the most intensive level of care offered to boys and girls. The program is specifically designed for children facing serious psychological and behavioral issues who require intensive treatment in a short-term residential setting. The Bethesda campus is able to provide residential care to as many as of 22 boys and 6 girls at one time.
The gym at the Bethesda campus is a central piece to the residential care program and acts as both a gym and a multipurpose room.
“We use the gym for volleyball, basketball, talent shows, plays and so much more,” Ingles said. “We try to make a therapeutic moment out of everything.”
The gym, however, has lost its functionality over the years.
“The floor installed when the gym was built was state of the art at the time, however as it was cleaned, water got under the floor and deteriorated the matting on the back of the tiles,” Ingles said. “The matting was meant to relieve knee and ankle pressure but now it’s gone. It’s not safe for our kids to play on.”
Powell first heard about the need for a new floor in her hometown from her granddaughter, Michelle Cochran, a therapist at The Village Network’s Wooster, Ohio location.
“She had mentioned that she wanted to donate to something, but she didn’t know what,” said Powell’s daughter, Janice Cochran.
Powell and her late husband Baden Powell invested their lives into sports. In 1954, Baden worked as a track coach for the Army while abroad in Germany, which later led the couple to become parent volunteers for the St. Clairsville track and football teams. After her husband’s passing, Mary Lee chose to financially support the new St. Clairsville school track and football field and now the The Village Network’s gymnasium as a way to give back to her community and continue the work her husband began.
“Sports is what dad liked,” Cochran said. “Mom wanted to do what she knew he would appreciate.”
Southeast Regional Director