New Heights Community Resource Center Celebrates Grand Opening
New Heights Community Resource Center celebrates grand opening
State Superintendent Dr. Mackey, the Tuscaloosa City School Board of Education, representatives from Alabama Power and other area leaders and nonprofit agencies celebrated the grand opening of a community resource center on January 18 that is the first of its kind in the state of Alabama.
New Heights Community Resource Center is an innovative partnership between the Tuscaloosa City Schools and local area nonprofits to help ensure the needs of Tuscaloosa City School students, their families and the broader community are being met.
“Imagine a place where struggling students can receive mental health services and drug and alcohol prevention support, a place where students can come after school for enrichment programs and mentoring. Imagine our students’ families having access to housing assistance, disability support, job coaching, English translation services, and even childcare. Imagine a place that has a store for students and their families to shop at no cost for clothes, food, school supplies,” said Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria during the ribbon cutting. “Imagine no more—this is New Heights.”
Plans for the center were first proposed in 2021 as an effort to bring community services together and collaborate to make them more accessible, while also utilizing unused space in a building owned by the city schools. Once Stillman Heights Elementary, portions of the New Heights building were renovated in 2022 so that former classroom space could be used as offices. The location is also home to TCS’s STARS Academy, an alternative program. By having the agencies on site, the hope is that it will better serve the students at STARS, but also all TCS students and their families, as the center is a hub for the nonprofit agencies.
Services provided by New Heights have five areas of specific focus: education, homeless and homeless prevention services, youth services, mental health and healthcare. There are 10 agencies who are the first community partners to move into New Heights: Habitat for Humanity of West Alabama, the Literacy Council of West Alabama, Disability Rights and Resources, Five Horizons Health, PRIDE of Tuscaloosa, the Kristen Amerson Youth Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama, Parents as Teachers, Tuscaloosa Reads and La Fuerza Multicultural.
In addition to the area agencies, New Heights will also be home to “The Lift,” which will be a store of all new, donated items including clothes, toiletries, food and school supplies that TCS students may “shop” at when a need is identified by their school social worker.
“We are so excited to currently have 10 community partners on board, and we hope to grow this even more,” said Tesney Davis, mental health coordinator for the Tuscaloosa City Schools. “I am very proud of TCS and the team we have that has done this work--people who worked very hard for this vision, which has been cultivated for several years now, and for it to finally come to reality has truly been a dream.”