Enviva presented a $25,000 donation to Celebration Church Pastor Anthony Rawlings on July 30 to support the creation of a new teen center for the Franklin church.
A press release continued by noting that Rawlings was joined by Del. Roslyn Tyler, who represents the 75th District in Virginia, which includes Franklin.
The teen center, which is scheduled to open in April 2022, is something Rawlings sees as a true need for the Franklin and greater Southampton County communities, the release stated.
“A teen center enables teens, youth alike, to be able to have a healthy space, a safe space, to go to and be able to grow, grow in a number of ways — to grow educationally, to grow emotionally, psychologically,” Rawlings said.
Tyler said, “It is so great to be here today at Celebration Church with Pastor Rawlings to support his vision and his mission for the youth and families in the Franklin and Southampton area. It’s a blessing. And, thank you, Enviva, for making this contribution. This teen center is going to be a real asset in our community and surely will enhance the quality of life in our area.”
Celebration Church currently occupies the building that will become the teen center. As the church begins construction on a new sanctuary this year, plans and preparations will begin to repurpose the current church building into a space booming with youth activity.
Plans for the center include a recording studio, a gaming room complete with various video game platforms and flat screen televisions, an all-purpose room for activities like dance and a commercial-grade kitchen.
“The teen center will be able to provide the youth in our community with opportunities that will hopefully help them excel in the classroom,” Rawlings said. “It will help tweak behavior. It will help their focus. So that’s what this teen center is about.”
Enviva’s interest in supporting the teen center started in 2020 through the company’s involvement with the Franklin-Southampton County Wellness Coalition.
As noted on its company website, Enviva is a leading global energy company specializing in sustainable wood bioenergy.
“We can’t thank God enough for Enviva for being able to donate $25,000 — it’s a substantial contribution for what we want to do in this teen center,” Rawlings said. “We are grateful for that. For Del. Tyler, we are grateful for her hard work and tenacity that she has exhibited for our community over the years.”
This is not the first time Enviva has supported a community teen center. Enviva was one of the first corporate sponsors on board for the Josh Norman Starz24 Teen Center that opened this year in Greenwood, South Carolina.
“Enviva believes in investing in our communities, especially in our next generation of leaders, and this gift to the Celebration Church’s teen center represents that commitment,” Enviva Mid-Atlantic Senior Community Relations Manager Chris Brown said. “A teen center is a positive place for youth in a world filled with a lot of negative influences. And, we all know with Pastor Rawlings in charge, this place will be overflowing with encouragement and excitement.”