HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — An old school in Houston County is getting new life.
The old Lindsey Elementary School is going to be a new support center, and at least one Houston County student thinks that's a good thing.
The Houston County School District closed Lindsey at the end of the last school year, but instead of letting the building sit empty, the school district is turning it into a resource center.
The goal is to help families throughout Houston County.
"A lot of people who you know don't feel like they have that resource, they have it now," Houston County High School Senior Tyler Nguyen said.
That's a good feeling for Nguyen, who, along with other students and their parents, will be able to come to the center to access everything from a computer lab to a food pantry to school supplies and more.
And it doesn't stop there.
Students like Nguyen can learn what it takes to get ready for college or the military.
Possibly, most importantly, it's about community connections, connections some might have lost during the pandemic.
"I didn't see any of my friends for like almost a whole year, because, you know, the close contact, so it was very difficult in that aspect, especially sophomore year. Resorting to just a laptop screen is difficult. All the people you learn from are all gone. They are there across the screen, but it's not the same," Nguyen said.
In some ways, it still is.
"I see a lot of people nowadays still struggling with that concept, because you know, they've been stuck online for a whole year, and they come back and they don't know how to socialize," Nguyen said.
Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Zabrina Cannady says the student center should be able to help students with those challenges.
"Students who are hungry, traumatized, marginalized, they are not going to learn at their full potential, so if we can take away some of the barriers that are preventing them from learning at their full potential, then that's what we aim to do here at the Lindsey Student Support Center," Cannady said.
Cannady says they started adding furniture and assigning rooms this summer.
"Behind the scenes, it's been quite a challenge, but it has been one of the most rewarding things that I have been part of during my career. Just thinking about how it could possibly impact the lives of our students and their families has made it an inspiring experience. It should be easily accessible for people who live near here, near the Lindsey center, but what we want to do is make sure students who live in Perry and other areas of Houston County also know there are ways to access services and support; and just make sure that they know these resources are available to them. We want to remove obstacles," Cannady said.
"It's now more than ever needed inside of our community. Looking back on it now, I am very grateful for the way I've changed and the way people have been there for me, because COVID was a very difficult time. My teachers, my peers, the superintendents, the county as a whole, they've been there for me, my church, I have that resource and I am very grateful. Adults need to realize that at the end of all of it, that they have people reaching out for them, and even after COVID and struggling times, this is the way to go. We all progress as one," Nguyen said.
Cannady says the district sent a survey parents to see what they want.
"We do not want this just to be a K-12 center. We want this to be a center where parents can come to grow and learn," Cannady said.
If you haven't filled it out yet, the deadline is September 6th.
Cannady says she "can see them hosting some parent classes, tutoring sessions, and open academic labs" by the end of September.
"These free resources and the people who are in them are a blessing for this county," Nguyen said.
The Lindsey Student Support Center is located at 81 Tabor Drive in Warner Robins.
The school district is working to finalize partnerships.