As people entered, some young, some old, it seemed as if you were stepping into an old family reunion.
Laughter and reminiscing is what you could hear, on how one center has stuck together through the years and impacted generations and many generations to come.
Wesley Community Center held its annual banquet Feb. 7, honoring its 65th anniversary, which was in October 2007. The first Wesley Center was established in October 1942 in Robstown and later another Wesley Center was established in Corpus Christi in December 2001.
Christy Hoffman, past president and introductions speaker for the banquet, talked about the history of Wesley Community Center. Hoffman, who was also a Wesley child, mentioned how Wesley has helped change the lives of many children and has assisted its surrounding communities.
"A missionary from New York was sent many centuries ago to Robstown, where the first Wesley Community Center, then known as the Wesley House, was established," Hoffman said.
The first programs that the Wesley House had were basic kindergarten classes designed to help the Hispanic children learn English and prepare for public school. From those classes, the Wesley House branched out toward providing sewing classes for mothers, a food pantry for the hungry, GED classes for those without a high school diploma, mentoring programs for children and the expansion to include Corpus Christi into the ministry reaching out to children who come from abused and homeless conditions.
The keynote speaker was Robstown native Scott Elliff, who is now superintendent of the Corpus Christi Independent School District. Elliff was also a Wesley child growing up.
"Wesley has always been a part of my life for so long, as I was a Wesley child and member of the First United Methodist Church in Robstown," Elliff said. "I believe that Wesley Community Center and CCISD are in the same business, child development. We are here for the children and to help develop the minds and most of all the hearts of the children who step into Wesley Community Center."
Hoffman recognized the board members who have done an outstanding job and who after last year retired from the Wesley Community Center board. The recognized members were Zula Langley, Wyane Woslsey, Pat Cobb, Maria De La Luz Oliver, Lorette Winters, the Rev. Francisco Campos, and the late Thomas Bond.
Thomas Bond passed away Dec. 27, 2007 and as a board member for 12 years, Bond was president of the board three times.
"Wesley is all about the children," said Eddie Jackson-Mathis, the executive director of Wesley Community Center.