By: Jeremy D. WellsCarter County Times
“We’re wanting to try to help you understand what happened to us as a gym,” Cosmic Center founder Amy Greene told the Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce during a special meeting last Thursday.
Greene was referencing a legal problem with a former employee who left the business on bad terms. She didn’t want to linger on the issue, preferring to focus on her Olive Hill roots and reasons for returning to the community to found the athletic center, which offers a variety of programs to local youth. But it was the 500-pound gorilla in the room that needed some attention. All Greene wanted to say on the issue was that legal action had been taken, the individual was investigated, and the allegations had gone to the grand jury for indictment.
Parents whose children participated in activities at the center, and who contributed to fundraisers for their events, were more open about what happened. One parent explained that the individual in question had stolen money raised by the parents for the children. Thousands of dollars in fundraiser money walked out the door with the employee, she said. Not only did the employee walk away with the money raised, she also failed to pay for the fundraiser items, leaving the center stuck with the bill which they had to pay for out of their own pockets. In all, the employee cost the center over $30,000 according to Greene.
Because they know it’s been talked about in the community, they felt they had to address the issue, but it isn’t where they want the focus to be moving forward. Instead, Greene said, they want to focus on the services and events they offer to the Olive Hill community. It isn’t just sports, athletics, and tumbling activities, she said. She wants the community to know the building is available for other events too.
“We’re fighting for our community,” Greene said, adding that she is “always thinking of ways to be involved in the community.
She asked the chamber members for advice on how to promote the events they already have planned and in improving participation and awareness of future events. The chamber responded with several ideas for promotion and strategies for effective use of social media.
Von Perry, who offered several insights on social media use, also reminded Greene that the Galaxy Project offers scholarships to children who might otherwise not be able to participate in activities due to costs.
Kieara Judd-Irick, with Center 4 A Change and Jenkie’s Journey, also agreed to sponsor some scholarships to the Cosmic Center, with details to be confirmed. She said activities and community of the sort offered in places like the Cosmic Center can help keep kids from turning to drugs and offer them the sense of belonging and security they are often lacking when they begin seeking solace in drugs and the drug community.
In addition to the Winter Wonderland Princess/Power Palooza, a December 19 event that will offer super hero (Power) and Princess themed activities for kids, the center’s upcoming events include the Cosmic Holiday Hoop Basketball Tournament, December 11-13, Cosmic Christmas Movie Nights on December 4 and 5, and Cosmic Hip Hop Classes, December 13-30. Greene said they will also be adding volleyball to the agenda soon, and that members of the West Carter volleyball team will be serving as the “princesses” during the Princess/Power Palooza. They also offer one of the few special needs cheering classes in the region.
For more information on events Greene encouraged those interested to find them on Facebook at Cosmic Athletic Center.
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