Community Center recognized nationally

Children during the annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Dufresne Community Center.

Earns Sterling Achievement Award for community, economic development

From egg hunts to dances, from national basketball tournaments to Christmas gift giveaways for the less fortunate, those behind the Edward Dufresne Community Center have consistently embraced its identity as a true multi-purpose facility aimed to benefit all.

To that end, a bit of recognition comes its way.

The center has been honored with the Sterling Achievement Award for the calendar year 2018, which recognizes outstanding contributions in the areas of community and economic development.

The community center was first nominated at the state level for the honor, chosen by Louisiana’s office of community development disaster recovery unit, and earned the honor over several nationwide contenders.

The Sterling award is bestowed by the Council of State Community Development Agencies. It picks a winner from a group of nominees that become eligible for the award by demonstrating positive results over sustained time in the areas of community and economic development, housing assistance and/or homelessness assistance and prevention.

“They were really impressed with the increase in facility usage and the increase in both the number of events we featured and our yearly revenue,” said Anedra Coleman, community center coordinator.

The center has a full-time staff at the facility that manages a number of recreational activities and enrichment events. Parish officials, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) staff and volunteers also help support parish and community related events such as the annual Easter Egg Hunt, Toy and Gift Fund, Veteran’s Day Luncheon, Senior Citizen’s Luncheon and Mardi Gras dance.

According to the award nomination, the center has transformed and evolved into a multi-use building that benefits the entire parish. The data over the last four years shows the return on the community center investment has far exceeded its intended and proposed usage while increasing revenues to secure sustainability.

Coleman noted the facility’s usage has increased 34 percent from 2014-2017. The number of events offered has grown to help make that a reality, and the revenue has spiked 61 percent over the same time period—creating a sustained path to success, Coleman said.

“The revenue we create goes right back into the center, making sure it’s maintained and up to speed,” she said. “It’s why we’ve been able to offer such a number of different events … that and a lot of teamwork. What we’ve been able to do with it … we’re constantly growing.”

A growing reputation has also been a key to their success.

“More and more residents are learning about us, that we do exist, and about the services we offer. We want to take its multipurpose usage and maximize it to its fullest potential. That’s always been the vision,” Coleman said.

“A lot of people had a key role in how far it’s come, and to see it recognized for everyone is a good feeling.” — Anedra Coleman

The recognition has hit home for Coleman especially, a central part of the center’s planning process since the center was opened officially in 2013.

“I can recall when that building was first being talked about … just to see that vision come to life, from where we started to right now, it’s really exciting. A lot of people had a key role in how far it’s come, and to see it recognized for everyone is a good feeling,” she said.

Edward A. Dufresne Community Center

  • 30,000 square foot facility was completed at total cost of 10.6 million, with 71 percent of that funded by federal grants, and opened in October of 2013.
  • Was built on land donated by late Judge Edward A. Dufresne Jr. and named after he and his father.
  • Easter Egg Hunt, Toy and Gift Fund, Veteran’s Day Luncheon, Senior Citizen’s Luncheon and Mardi Gras dance among numerous events hosted regularly.
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