Milledgeville nurse starts youth development center in Baldwin County

Arlene Simmons, a nurse for 20 years, is opening a youth services center in Milledgeville. She used the money she earned in New York at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to pay for the building.
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Arlene Simmons, a nurse for 20 years, is opening a youth services center in Milledgeville. She used the money she earned in New York at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to pay for the building.

After helping in New York City when the pandemic began, nurse now helping kids in hometown

In March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic became real for the public, nurse Arlene Simmons headed to New York to help out in overworked hospitals. Now, she’s turning the tragedy she saw there into a blessing for kids in her hometown.

“After seeing what I saw, it brought me to a whole new perspective, a whole new mindset,” Simmons told 13WMAZ. “So many children are being left behind.”

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Being a nurse for 20 years, Simmons naturally wants to help others. “Who I am is just who I am,” she said. “I go to where I am needed.”

It didn’t take Simmons long to realize she was needed at home. With the money she made in New York, Simmons bought a 6,000-square-foot building and transformed it into a youth development center.

“I’m excited about getting them out of the streets and keeping them busy! We’re doing everything from interpersonal skills, all the soft skills, identifying their traits, resume writings, self-defense classes, cooking classes, and more,” Simmons said.

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The center will also offer a foster care orientation program for adults and a six-week job readiness program for 16- to 24-year-olds.

Area residents are excited about the center and thankful for Simmons’ efforts.

“She does a lot out of her pocket, and the best thing about Arlene is she doesn’t want any recognition for it!” Jessica McCormick, a mother of seven, told 13WMAZ.

According to the news station, a ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for July 24, with a job fair slated to begin at noon.

The job readiness program and foster care orientation classes will begin Aug. 1 and take place once a month, on the weekends. Pre-K, before- and after-school programs are scheduled to start in September.

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Baldwin County Youth Services Center

127 Blandy Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061.

For more information, call 478-452-9488 or email BaldwinCountyYs@gmail.com.