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Outside-In Program reaches out

A Rural Studio student, a willing community, and a grant. Those were the ingredients used to create the Outside In Program.

Two years ago, Emily Chaffee, a Rural Studio student, found there was nowhere in Hale county that could be used as a neutral meeting place for people of different races to come together.

“We had churches, but the weren’t integrated,” Anne S. Bailey, organizer of the program said.

“The object was to start a neutral place to discuss racial issues and get to know people.”

The group meets every Thursday from 6-8 p.m. on Main Street. There is a sign on the building so it can’t be mistaken.

“We play games like Dominoes, checkers and bingo,” Bailey said. “There’s also a quilting class.”

The scene is B.Y.O.S., bring your own snack, and Bailey would eventually like to expand the program.

“We would like to have other classes, movies, music, and art and storytime for the children,” she said.

Bailey said people walk by, see things going on inside the center and come in.

“We get as many as 25 and as few as five,” Bailey said.

Last year, the program peaked at about 45 participants on one night.

Bailey and her staff recently applied for a grant from the Blackbelt Commision, until then the program will rely on Friends of Hale County for funding to purchase quilting, art and photo supplies and an air conditioner for the center.

For more information or to make a contribution to Outside In, contact Anne S. Bailey (334) 624-4477.