For Immediate Release

October 21, 2014

Contact: Tammy Sharp

Media Relations



MEDIA ALERT: Lowe's Chooses MLK Center as Recipient of Grassroots Program

LEESVILLE, La.--The Martin Luther King Center of Leesville will be getting some much needed upgrades from Lowe's on October 22 thanks to a small business in Anacoco.


Lowe's will arrive at the Center at 9 a.m. Oct. 22. As part of Lowe's Toolbox for Education initiative, funded by the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, the Martin Luther King Center has been chosen as the 2014 grassroots recipient. The initiative allows Lowe's to make positive impacts in the communities of people who support their business. But the nomination came as a surprise to the Center.


Troy and Angie Babineaux, owners of the Anacoco Hill Nursery, heard of grants available to communities by accident. But once they found out they were available, the first group they thought of was the MLK Center.


"Unfortunately, city funds can get tight when it comes to the center. Knowing at least 40 kids attend after school activities at the center means there is a need for community outreach and support. They were the first group I thought of," said Angie Babineaux. "All children in our community deserve a safe environment to live, grow, and learn. It's great to have large corporations like Lowe's have a genuine interest in the welfare of the communities in which they serve."


The initiative of a local business has led to corporate action for Lowe's. A representative recently visited the MLK Center for an assessment of what is needed for improvement. The children who use the Center will notice updated paint, wood trim, and appliances for yard maintenance.


Since it's establishment in 1977, the MLK Center has strived to provide a child-focused, family-oriented environment for the City of Leesville by developing, encouraging, and challenging local youth to prepare for their futures.


"This will be the first time a corporation as big as Lowe's has gotten involved with the Center," said Sonny Harrell, recreational aide for the Martin Luther King Center. "We have had local support from smaller businesses, but this will be the first major upgrades the playground equipment has seen in my 18 years with the Center. We are thankful for local and corporate community support. Positive impacts from community businesses let our children and communities know their efforts are acknowledged, are supported by their community, and are deserving of quality recreational equipment."


"We are excited for the event next week. Opportunities like these really bring a community together to focus on what is really important; building a strong, safe, and nurturing environment for our children," said Babineaux. "We cannot wait to see the look on the children's faces once the project is finished."


 Internet Improvements for the Dunbar Branch
The need to address slow internet services is one of the major improvements patrons have already begun to experience at the MLK Center. Upgrades from router to fiber optic lines are providing visitors with better, faster internet connections.


"Dunbar Branch Library serves many children who visit after school to do homework. Some of these children do not have computers at home, or fast Internet access," said Howard Coy, Director of the Vernon Parish Library. "The connection upgrade will provide faster internet service for children and adults who use this branch library. This, along with the many databases and other online services the library offers, is one way for us to aid in the education of our residents."
 Body Quest Food and Nutrition Program
Natasha Johnson, former employee of the MLK Center, has returned for a weekly educational program for local third grade students. The LSU AgCenter, hosted by Johnson, is facilitating a Body Quest Food and Nutrition Program to teach children the positive effects of healthy eating habits.


The program, designed to study the eating habits of third graders, will allow students to learn, interact, and participate in discussions and demonstrations with hands on activities. A group of 12 participants at the Center have planted various fruits and vegetables and will watch them grow over the course of 21 weeks.


"We are very excited to be working with Ms. Johnson," said Sonny Harrell, Recreation Aide at the MLK Center. "She was an employee of the Center and did work with our summer program. She recently was offered a position in her field of study at the LSU AgCenter, and thought of us for her Body Quest study. The event is a compliment to our after school program. Our goal is to help increase educational and recreational opportunities for our children. With this program, children learn about healthy, obtainable eating habits with Ms. Johnson and continue to participate in educational and physical activities provided by the center."

At the end of the program, students will harvest, cook, and share their fruits and vegetables with other participants. Throughout the program, children will be learning about healthy eating habits, engage in discussion and participation, and build on experiences related to the Lousiana Common Core Standards.


Media interested in covering these improvements for the Martin Luther King Center should contact Tammy Sharp at 337.378.9329.



The City of Leesville, the best hometown in the world, is a historic yet visionary community. As the parish seat of Vernon Parish, where Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center are located, the City of Leesville is home to military families, retired veterans and a growing and strongly patriotic citizenry that provides the basis of a well-rounded and work-ready workforce.   


Visit us on the web at, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  

# # #