Our Mission

Since 1949, Wesley Community Centers of Savannah, Inc.’s mission is to enhance the economic, educational, and spiritual growth, through excellence in early learning care and services, for women, children, and families.

About Us

The United Methodist Women have long been known to care about the needs of children and families in poverty. Their support of our agency goes back to before Wesley was named Wesley Community Centers of Savannah, Inc.

With funding from the Women's Society of Christian Services, Savannah's Bethlehem Center first open its doors in 1949 and served twenty-five children in a borrowed facility. In 1972 Bethlehem Center merged with Inner City Community Center and took its current name, Wesley Community Centers of Savannah, Inc. Wesley is a United Methodist Missions Institution and those we serve have the hearts and dedication of the United Methodist Women. 

Over the years, the United Methodist Women have continued to support Wesley through financial contributions, donations, and hands-on volunteer service. 

United Methodist Women, turning faith, hope and love into action for women, children and youth for 150 years!

Our Vision

A community where social and economic justice prevail no matter what a person's age, race, gender, ability, or personal or collective history, and where compassionate understanding and nurturing abound.

Community & Constituency

Wesley is located in inner city Savannah, an area that continues to be a designated focus location for the Step Up Savannah initiative (stepupsavannah.org). As a member of Step Up Savannah, Wesley has the ability to reach thousands of citizens throughout Savannah. Wesley serves more than 7,800 homeless and low income women, children, and families each year. Many are classified as the working poor, the elderly, and people with differing abilities.

Wesley works to help people exit poverty and become self-sufficient.
Wesley is not a hand out, but rather a hand up. 

Wesley mandates that parents and guardians of children who attend Wesley’s Early Childhood Education and Development programs be working and/or in school (short-term exceptions apply for families who are homeless). 

Participants in the Women’s Center have been active since its inception, providing input on desired services and activities, serving on various planning committees, and volunteering. 

Wesley serves all people regardless of race, creed, color, gender, nationality, or ability level. Wesley is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Our Awards and Accomplishments

Wesley strives to provide the best possible service using the minimal resources. By the number of awards, we have received over the years, we distinguished ourselves from the ordinary and provided a "hand up" for many people to build the foundation for success. 

In 2022, Wesley’s Early Childhood Center and The Lady Bamford Center provided 105 low-income children with subsidized early childhood services and homeless children with free services. Both Centers are in 100% compliance with all local, state, and federal licensing entities. Wesley continued its partnership with the Savannah Early Childhood Foundation (SECF). Through this partnership parents/caregivers have access to Early Learning College, a program that provides numerous parenting workshops along with incentives. Wesley teachers facilitate some classes and consistently receive positive reviews.

Wesley’s Youth Arts Camp provided 42 campers with safe and educational services, including field trips and other activities are made possible by camp staff and volunteers.

J.R. Paddison Center (Crisis Intervention Program) provided services, advocacy, and referrals for 2, 850 single adults and families. J.R. Paddison Center provided 120 families with emergency financial assistance so they could keep their housing and utilities during crisis, more than 760 bags of groceries to hungry people, provided Thanksgiving dinners for over 250 families, personal hygiene items to more than 100 families, more than $4,100 in gifts/ toys and gift cards for Holiday Adoption program. The Center maintained Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness accreditation.

Our Administration

  • Tammy A. K. Mixon-Calderon, Executive Director
  • Kim Banner, Education Director
  • Donna W. McMillan, Business Manager
  • Angelica Chambers, Executive Assistant

Our Staff

  • Yvonne Williams, Administrative Assistant
  • Reuben Richardson, Maintenance Supervisor/Custodian

Our Family Life Center Staff

  • Valeria Flowers, Family Advocate

Board of Directors

Van R. Johnson, II, President

Nancy Merchen, Vice President

Monica Mastrianni, Secretary

Jeanine Thompson, Treasurer

William Briggs

Ben Herron

Eula Parker

Beverly Sheppard

Servon Jackson

Ex-Officio Members

Rev. David Thompson, Coastal District, D.S. UMC

Connie Boole, Coastal District, United Women in Faith (UWF), President

Tara Jones, South Georgia Conference, UWF, President

Our History

Ms. Gertrude Green, an Afican-American social worker at the Department of Family and Children Services, founded Wesley Community Centers in 1949. Ms. Green, who recognized the need for day care for children of Negro working mothers, began meeting in 1948 with others in the community, including Rev. Arthur Curtwright, Rev George Clary, and Dr. William K. Payne, to plan for a child care center. They were joined by the Methodist Church and the Methodist Women Missionaries, whose interest was already in the area of serving the needs of children and families through Bethlehem Centers. With funding from the Women's Society of Christian Services, Savannah's Bethlehem Center first open its doors in 1949 and served twenty-five children in a borrowed facility. In 1972 Bethlehem Center merged with Inner City Community Center and took its current name, Wesley Community Centers of Savannah, Inc. Wesley is a United Methodist Missions Institution and, since 1959, a member of the United Way. The agency is now owned by the Board of Directors and includes three buildings and the grounds where it operates. In 2000, Wesley opened an all-inclusive community Women's Center where women and families of all different races, nationalities, socio-economic standings, education, and abilities join together to learn, share, and work for personal and community social, economic, and spiritual justice.

During the Tenure of Rev. W. Hamp Watson, Jr. as District Superintendent of the Savannah District of the United Methodist Church 1979-1984, the property of the former Adventist Church at 1601 Drayton Street was purchased by Wesley Community Centers, Inc. This was made possible by a Financial Campaign headed up by the District Superintendent and Frank Wooten, aka Francis L. Wooten, Jr. Mr. Wooten, a long-time Faithful Member at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church was President of Kaiser Agricultural Chemical Corporation. Mr. Wooten used his considerable influence in the Savannah Community to solicit Corporate Gifts and other gifts that resulted in enough money to purchase the property at 1601 Drayton Street. Wesley Community Centers moved into the new site that provided adequate space to continue its previous programs for the poor of the Savannah Community and to launch new programs under the direction of Reatha Stevens who was Executive Director of Wesley Community Centers at that time. Rev. W. Hamp Watson, Jr., District Superintendent, said, "Had it not been for the leadership of Frank Wooten, we would not have been able to occupy this wonderful new space to launch programs for the poor of Savannah."