The Center, which is located at 3617 Hickory Ave SW in Birmingham, Alabama, was established in 1903 to provide support for women and children of those men working in the mining and manufacturing industries. In the 100+ years of existence, the Center carries on the tradition of caring and concern for the surrounding community by addressing their needs through programs for youth through seniors.
This project was made possible by a generous donation from the James Milton and Sallie R. Johnson Foundation.
Fifteen years ago, Johnson served on a United Way Visiting Allocations Team where she reviewed the United Community Center and was very impressed with its community services. She wanted to do more to help the organization and learned the center wanted a pavilion built. United Way’s Hands on Birmingham then scoped, created budget, met with Johnson’s to go over the project and reached out to companies to secure volunteers for the build.
The outdoor space will be used to host meals, conversation, and provide instruction for clients.
UCC Riley Executive Director, Theresa Johnson, said, “Before the pavilion was built, our backyard was bare with nowhere to sit or do anything, so the seniors could only participate in indoor activities.”
Volunteers from Engineers of the South, United Way of Central Alabama Tocqueville Society, Women United, Youth Philanthropists Society, Bhate, and The Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees-Chapter 36 spent multiple days building the pavilion and landscaping. With the addition of the new pavilion, the Riley community now has an inviting space to get outside and commune with nature.
Among the guests and speakers who attended the ribbon-cutting were Sallie and Jim Johnson, employees of Bhate and Engineers of the South, and clients of the Riley Center. Theresa Johnson, UWCA President and CEO Drew Langloh, and District 7 City Counselor Wardine Alexander were also on-hand.