By Barry Wright
Her appreciation could not have been more evident.
Jenny Greensmith, executive director of the Pathways Health Centre for Children, smiled broadly when asked about her response to a $600,000 donation by the Rotary Club of Sarnia towards the $4.2 million capital campaign for the Murphy Road/Michigan Ave. organization she heads.
"It was an absolute sheer delight," said Greensmith, noting that the expansion will not only benefit the organization's 2,000 clients, but will also make for a more pleasant work environment for Pathways' 100 staff.
"We are simply out of space," she added. "We are bursting at the seams."
An expansion and redesign will provide about 40 per cent more space than the existing facility that serves children with special needs.
With the donation, Rotary has continued its support of services to children dating back six decades when the original centre offered treatment to 18 children.
In fact, the facility was officially opened in 1975 on land leased from Rotary Sarnia for $1 per year. During its formative years, the centre, formerly known as Rotary Children's Place, received significant contributions from the club.
"We have done this sort of work since the very beginning," said Brian Davidson, president of the club, one of two Rotary chapters in the city. "We are very pleased to continue to be involved (with the health of children)," he said.
Greensmith says the expansion at Pathways began in September and should be completed by September 2011.
She says the two senior levels of government are supporting the project to the tune of $1.2 million.
Club officials say the pledge is the second largest ever given by the Rotary Club of Sarnia, the largest being its $1 million raised to help build Sarnia's new hospital facility.