Doug Vason and some of his friends recently donated more than $600 to the Washington Street Community Center, but Vason hopes to gather 10 times that much in donations next year.
Vason owns Vason Conrete Construction in Atlanta, and during 2009 he pledged to set aside $1 every day to donate WSCC. He was joined in that daily donation by James and Clifton Nolley, owners of James and Clifton’s Styling Salon on Emory St., who each set aside 25 cents every day to give to the center. Frequent barber shop customer and friend Nathanial Tyler also pledged 25 cents every day.
Although the amounts weren’t large, the four men wanted to start a consistent donation program.
"We were talking one day and we said it we just pledged, say a quarter every day, that would add up. I said if they pledged 25 cents I would donate a dollar. We’d decided to do it for a year and see how it went," Vason said.
With a successful test run behind them, Vason said he hopes to recruit more and more businesses and individuals to the cause. For 2010, Vason has challenged himself and his three friends to recruit at least one additional donor. From there, he hopes a chain reaction is started.
"My goal is to have a hundred businesses donating by 2011. For non-profits to be successful they need more support, because they’re hurting from a lack of grants and donations," he said. "If we can get more and more people, then we can all raise money without any one person missing it. I hope we can raise $4,000 to $5,000."
Vason said he envisions the group becoming the Friends of Washington Street, similar to other non-profit support groups, like the Friends of Porterdale.
He has close ties to WSCC because of his connection to Louise and T.K. Adams who were among his teachers during elementary school. The Adamses have long volunteered at WSCC and continue to this day.
Vason began volunteering at WSCC, helping with the tutorial after-school program, the staple of the center. Although he and his wife Carolyn live in Atlanta, they spend as much time at the center as possible. Vason is the treasurer on WSCC’s Board of Directors. He has also brought groups of children to observe the work done at construction sites as part of the center’s enrichment programs.
If anyone is interested in joining the cause, they can call Vason on his cell at 770-633-1940 or WSCC Executive Director Bea Jackson at the center at 770-786-4002, or visit the center at 4138 School St. in Covington.