PACOLET, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg School District 3 has donated their former middle school building in Pacolet, so it could be transformed into what it is now, a new family resource center.

In an area that lacks access to things like healthcare and parenting support, it comes at a crucial time for Pacolet residents.

Jerry Rice has spent much of his life doing non-profit work. So when he came to Pacolet, where the poverty level rate is 21.2 percent, above the national average of 13.6 percent, he knew he could help. 

“The infant mortality rate is very high, four times the rest of Spartanburg County,” said Rice, executive director of the Benjamin E. Mays Family Resource Center. “Readiness for school, a quarter of the children that go to school are not ready for school on all five domains of readiness.”

Rice is directing the new center which will offer a range of services, like basic healthcare, addiction recovery classes and dental needs. The former middle school’s cafeteria and computer lab will also be utilized.

“The public can come in to use that lab to do what they need to do, if they want to hunt for a job, if they want to play fantasy football, if they want to find recipes, if they want to build a resume… whatever they need to do, that lab is available for them to use,” said Rice.

Named after an Upstate native who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and dedicated his life to educating others, this location is aiming to carry on Benjamin E. Mays’ legacy. 

“There’s tremendous opportunity in this community, there are buildings and land that’s available that aren’t as expensive as Spartanburg and I think people in this community can really take advantage of that to provide services in Spartanburg, but someone needs to help them figure out how to do that,” said Rice.

Rice said this will not only give residents the help they need, but show them how to take advantage of resources to become independent. By doing so, the center will show people who they can really be when they have the right resources.

“It’s really important to me that I can help people achieve what they can achieve, that they can meet their potential,” said Rice.

The family resource center is providing services as needed right now but will officially open on September 7th.

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