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Endowment benefits St. Joseph programOriginally Published September 26, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated September 25, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
From the left, Amy Siebenmorgen; Samantha Hoelzeman; Laura Hiegel-Williams, director of the St. Joseph After School Program-Bob Nabholz Youth Center; and Stormy Prewitt, assistant director, show off the program’s new location. The St. Joseph Endowment and Charitable Trust bought the former Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County building in downtown Conway for the school’s use. The building was refurbished and opened for the St. Joseph students this fall.
The late well-known businessman Bob Nabholz of Conway gave so much money to the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County that the downtown unit was named after him — then he started an endowment to buy the building, should it ever be for sale.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Laura Hiegel-Williams, director of the St. Joseph After School Program-Bob Nabholz Youth Center, said Nabholz put money into an
endowment account for the building.
“What a giving man, to buy it twice, really. That’s what happened,” Hiegel-Williams said. “Since Bob was so generous, we needed to keep his name up there.”
Nabholz, founder and chairman of Nabholz Construction, died in 2002.
The Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County built a 15,000-square-foot facility that opened in January. It remained the Bob Nabholz Unit.
The former 8,500-square-foot building in downtown Conway was sold to the St. Joseph School Endowment and Charitable Trust in 2011, which leased the building back to the club for $1 a month until the new facility was ready.
The after-school facility operates a lot like the Boys and Girls Club, except it’s just for the private school’s students.
Students can use it from 2:30-6 p.m. each day to do their homework, play games and wait for their parents to get off work.
Students in kindergarten through the 12th grade pay a monthly fee to be in the program. A bus picks up the children from all three St. Joseph campuses, and students receive a snack and a drink. A homework room with tutors is available, as well as a computer lab and an indoor gymnasium.
St. Joseph School took over the building in April and worked to get it ready to operate this fall.
Before St. Joseph obtained the building, students were in two locations, said Jacqueline Kordsmeier, executive director of the endowment and trust.
“It’s always been the after-school program, but in two different places,” she said.
Now, everyone gets bused to the new location.
Hiegel-Williams said it was a “huge undertaking” by volunteers of St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Conway community.
Parish members volunteered their time and donated materials for the refurbishing project, Hiegel-Williams said.
“I think [the Boys and Girls Club] had it 23 years, and that was a lot of kids who ran through that building,” she said.
“We were pulling out flooring and repainting things. We got a few new fixtures, sinks, faucets,” etc., Hiegel-Williams said.
Even though parish members donate all the time, they stepped up again, she said.
She said proceeds from the year-round flea market on campus paid for new carpet in the facility.
The eating area was expanded, she said, to accommodate 75 to 100 students.
The after-school program has grown, and Hiegel-Williams said her mother, Janet, was one of the first directors.
It started about 22 years ago in a trailer with 12 students; today, 135 are enrolled, Hiegel-Williams said.
“We average about 95 students a day,” she said.
Hiegel-Williams said she has been a part of the program for those 22 years, working first under her mother.
“It’s a fantastic program they have going on over there,” Kordsmeier said. “It’s so beneficial for the parents.”
Chris Smith has two children, Lauren, 15, and John, 10, who attend St. Joseph School.
Smith said she has used the after-school program since Lauren was in kindergarten.
“It was such a blessing to have a safe place for my child to go after school while my husband and I were at work,” she said. “It also allowed our children to attend after-school clubs because they were escorted to the after-school program afterward.”
Smith said she starting working part time, and her day ended at 2, but her children wanted to attend the after-school program three days a week because they enjoyed it so much.
“They would rather have gone there than come home,” she said. “That speaks volumes to me on the quality of the program and care they received.”
Smith said her son, John, still attends the after-school program “every chance he gets.”
Smith praised Hiegel-Williams as a “true Christian woman” who is continuing her mother’s legacy.
“She has continued her mother’s legacy and enhanced it with the refurbishment of the old Boys and Girls Club facility,” Smith said.
Hiegel-Williams wrote in a letter to parents that as the mother of six children, “it is important to me that programs such as this exist!”
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or email@example.com.