OCEAN CITY – The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce hosted a Ribbon Cutting last Thursday for the grand opening of Red Doors Community Center at St. Paul’s By-The-Sea. The center is a non-profit organization providing enrichment opportunities for the community and engaging in community service.
“Our mission is to provide opportunities for enrichment in mind, body and spirit for children and adults in the community and we hope to do so,” Director Fawn Mete said before she cut the blue ribbon, opening officially Red Doors to the public.
St. Paul’s By-The-Sea Reverend David Dingwall was happy to see the crowd turn out for the opening ceremony.
“We are incredibly excited about this project,” he said. “St. Paul’s By-The-Sea has been in Ocean City for over 100 years and over that time my understanding is it has become more and more separate from the life of Ocean City and over time lost a bit of that sense of being central to the community, and we are really hoping that with Fawn’s passion and leadership that we are going to return to being that place where people want to come for all sorts of different reasons.”
Mete is from the Ocean City area and is a graduate of Stephen Decatur High School. She taught in Annapolis for several years but returned to the area about five years ago to teach at Stephen Decatur Middle School. She is a member of St. Paul’s By-The-Sea and through conversation with other members she found a need for the center in the community and is now the Director of Red Doors Community Center full-time.
“What started out as an idea become a reality … we want to offer all sorts of enrichment opportunities to kids and adults in the community, and find new ways to serve the community beyond what a church traditionally does, so we are a non-profit organization and we are going to be very involved with creativity, wellness, education, and philanthropy,” she said.
The Red Doors offers classes for children and adults in a variety of areas, including ballet and jazz dance, Pilates, yoga, fencing, Spanish, jewelry making, sewing, cooking, book study, environmental science, prenatal education, guitar and violin lessons, guitar building, and more. A catalog is online at www.reddoors.org, where individuals can register for classes on a rolling basis.
“We are really trying to think of what people have asked for in the community,” Mete said.
According to Red Doors, the program facilitators and partners are independent contractors who are excited to share their expertise and passion with members of the community, and although it is a religiously affiliated non-profit organization, the programs are designed for people of all faiths or no faith.
Mete explained that the title, Red Doors, symbolizes the doors of Episcopal churches that are traditionally painted red, and since the Middle Ages a red door has indicated sanctuary and is a sign of welcome.
“The name and color of the entrance to the church is a symbol that we welcome everyone,” she said.
The Red Doors is organizing several philanthropic events, including the introduction of a meal-based micro-granting program to benefit area schools and environmental initiatives, and a community literacy outreach program.
To further the center’s mission, the Red Doors offers scholarships to children to participate in enrichment activities and applications will continually be accepted and funds will be disbursed on a rolling basis. Applications are available on the website.