Key social services arm showing some encouraging signs

The value that The Center in Williamsport plays is important beyond debate.

The work at the facility at 844 W. Fourth St. is geared toward the educational and personal enrichment of the area’s youth, families and seniors by providing comprehensive programs, camps, workshops, seminars, substance abuse counseling and more.

That’s an impressive mission that answers the critical needs of youths, families and seniors in our community. For many of them, that mission is not available elsewhere.

Unfortunately, when The Center is in fiscal danger, as it has been in recent years, those missions are compromised.

Ongoing work to merge STEP Inc., The Center and the Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action (CAPPA) is aimed in part at solving the fiscal issues.

STEP Inc. agreed last week to become The Center’s fiscal agent and will handle all of the organization’s bookkeeping.

Given STEP Inc.’s track record, this is very good news.

If The Center can keep its fiscal house in order, both the building and its mission can be preserved.

And everyone should want that.

There are lots of kids, families and seniors in the city that need what the programs and environment The Center is capable of offering.

CAPPA and The Center partnered with STEP for the Summer Counts program, a full-day, 8-week summer program with academic and recreational elements.

So there is a track record on which to base encouragement.

The three organizations are continuing to offer full after-school programs as well.

And exploration is continuing regarding the possibility of a full merger in which The Center and CAPPA would come under STEP Inc.’s umbrella.

These are all encouraging developments on the social services front.