The walls are brightly painted, the furniture is second-hand, and every inch of space is designated for a purpose.
There's nothing fancy or high-tech about Dove Ministries, but miracles happen in this space and children's lives are forever changed.
A few years ago, Faye McRorie said, she got a two-word message from God: "latchkey children." She wasn't sure what that meant, but she did some investigating and learned that some elementary-aged children in Mount Pleasant go home every day to empty homes.
McRorie, an ordained minister, realized she needed to do something to help them.
In September 2009 she opened the doors of Dove Ministries to children after school. There they have a healthy snack, sing songs and have story time. The children read and work on their homework, and on nice days they go outside to play.
Faye McRorie has taken old, commercial space on Franklin Street and transformed it. With a lot of help from friends and family, she now has designated areas for each grade level, a kitchen, bathroom, pantry and meeting room, where her church has services on Saturday evenings and she has children's church on Saturday mornings.
She has cleverly restored or repurposed old fixtures, used furniture and even cabinets found on the roadside. Dove Ministries is a bright, happy place, and its atmosphere matches McRorie's personality: cheerful and welcoming.
Fifteen children go there every day after school, each recommended by the guidance office at Mount Pleasant Elementary School. McRorie said she has room for more, but she needs more volunteers before she can accept more children.
It's wonderful to chat with McRorie and watch her eyes light up when she talks about her students. She's seen amazing life and attitude changes, and she knows she's made a difference in children's lives.
There is no charge for the children; everything is funded through donations. McRorie doesn't want government funding, because she wants to include religious education in her program, so she relies on church and individual contributors.
A hairdresser for 35 years, McRorie continues to work at that job to earn more money for her ministry.
When I asked what the greatest needs are for Dove Ministries, McRorie mentioned canned goods. She often sends food home with her children, sometimes even making lunch for them to take to school the next day.
Another great need is for volunteers: to listen to children read aloud, to make meals, to help with maintenance. Of course, Dove Ministries relies on donations to pay the rent, utilities and all other expenses.
If you'd like to help in any way, call Faye McRorie at 704-436-6899 or 704-701-2365.
Dove Ministries is an outstanding example of homegrown charity: See a need in your community and fix it. Now it's up to us to lend support.