Yadkin Valley homeless shelter The Ark will hold a Shaggin’ For Shelter dance contest on St. Patrick’s Day at The Liberty as a fundraiser and to celebrate 17 years


By Beanie Taylor - [email protected]



Cynthia Cothren, director of The Ark, Shaggin’ for Shelter event chair Vicky Tysor, Tracy Mays and Cicely McCulloch at The Liberty plan details for Shaggin’ For Shelter.


Beanie Taylor | The Tribune

Origins of The Ark

•Fall, 1998 – Volunteers at Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry notice a need for emergency housing for homeless mothers and their children.

•November, 1998 – Tri-C volunteers, led by Rev. Bob Veasey of Elkin Presbyterian Church, invite members of the community to a soup kitchen supper to pitch the idea of opening a homeless shelter where Volunteers sign up to form a committee.

•December, 1998 – The Shelter Steering Committee, led by Jane Motsinger, conducts a feasibility study and commits itself to establishing a homeless shelter in the Elkin-Jonesville community.

•Feb. 19, 1999 – ECHO Ministry, Inc. is incorporated for the purpose of operating The Ark, a shelter for homeless families and single women who are not victims of domestic violence.

•May, 1999 – ECHO Ministry receives tax exempt status as a 501(c)3 corporation

•March 1, 2000 – The Ark opens at 625 N. Bridge St. in Elkin. The first guest checks in that day, and The Ark has not been empty a single night since opening day.

•May, 2002 – The Ark Board decides to begin a capital campaign to design and build a new and larger facility to accommodate more people experiencing homelessness. The campaign successfully raises $650,000.00, of which $234,650 is a deferred loan from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

•May, 2005 – The Ark Board approves architectural drawings submitted by Thomas Hughes Architects for a 4500 square foot building capable of housing 25 people each night.

•October, 2005 – The Board awards the construction contract to Magnolia Construction Company for a bid of $527,000 for construction of the new building. Construction begins in November, 2005.

•August 28, 2006 – The Ark opens at its new location at 130 Hill St.

On Friday, The Ark will host Shaggin’ For Shelter at The Liberty as a fundraising celebration of 17 years of service to the Yadkin Valley. Although the dance contest is expected to be the center of entertainment, an Irish dinner for $9 and Irish tunes on bagpipe played by Terry Rose are expected to draw non-dancers as well.

Admission to enjoy the music and cash bar will be $10 with contestants paying an additional $10. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and at 6, Bryan Gilliam will give shag lessons. Gilliam is a dance teacher who presents shag lessons every Tuesday night at the Yadkin Valley Senior Center in Jonesville.

“Lots of folks have requested to learn a few shag steps before the event,” explained Cynthia Cothren, director of The Ark, “so we are grateful to Bryan for helping us have fun and learn some smooth dance moves at the event.”

Contestants are expected from as far as 200 miles in all directions. “We have folks attending from local areas — Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Boone,” claimed Cothren, who is excited to see if this is will be the first of what becomes an annual event drawing visitors and funds to Elkin.

After the contest, listeners will have the opportunity to make requests of DJ’s from Dirt Road Entertainment for an additional donation. “We look forward to all types of music to be requested after the shag contest,” stated Shaggin’ for Shelter event chair Vicky Tysor, who also serves on The Ark Board of Directors.

“The fundraising committee on the board came up with the idea for Shaggin’ for Shelter last year,” stated Cothren. “So many [people] in the community wanted to have fun helping raise awareness and much needed funds for The Ark. Cicely McCulloch suggested we book the event on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, and we thought that might be a great idea,” especially since The Ark is celebrating 17 years in Elkin.

“It still feels like it was only yesterday that The Ark opened its doors for the first time to serve those without a home of their own,” said one of The Ark’s founding members, Jane Motsinger. According to Motsinger, The Ark serves an average of 94 to 100 individuals each year who have been negatively impacted by the economy and the cost of living.

According to Cothren, The Ark has, “provided a home and services for over 1,700 folks in need.” Although this number is primarily single women, it does include families. At present, there are 10 children and 12 adults who are living at The Ark. The Ark can house four families and three single women and is staffed 24/7.

Residents start with a three-month window to work on their issues. In addition to programs to help with better job placement, they learn about budgeting and finance, they get aid finding adequate childcare, transportation and healthcare, as well as assistance with medical issues and rehabilitation if needed.

Events such as Shaggin’ For Shelter and Cardboard City, which is held in November, help to provide these services along with donations throughout the year. “So many in the community love [The Ark],” declared Cothren. “As always we appreciate the help and tremendous support from the community.”

For questions about Shaggin’ For Shelter or The Ark, email [email protected], visit website thearkelkin.org or call 336-527-1637.

Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.

Cynthia Cothren, director of The Ark, Shaggin’ for Shelter event chair Vicky Tysor, Tracy Mays and Cicely McCulloch at The Liberty plan details for Shaggin’ For Shelter.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_ShagShelter.jpgCynthia Cothren, director of The Ark, Shaggin’ for Shelter event chair Vicky Tysor, Tracy Mays and Cicely McCulloch at The Liberty plan details for Shaggin’ For Shelter. Beanie Taylor | The Tribune

By Beanie Taylor

[email protected]

Origins of The Ark

•Fall, 1998 – Volunteers at Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry notice a need for emergency housing for homeless mothers and their children.

•November, 1998 – Tri-C volunteers, led by Rev. Bob Veasey of Elkin Presbyterian Church, invite members of the community to a soup kitchen supper to pitch the idea of opening a homeless shelter where Volunteers sign up to form a committee.

•December, 1998 – The Shelter Steering Committee, led by Jane Motsinger, conducts a feasibility study and commits itself to establishing a homeless shelter in the Elkin-Jonesville community.

•Feb. 19, 1999 – ECHO Ministry, Inc. is incorporated for the purpose of operating The Ark, a shelter for homeless families and single women who are not victims of domestic violence.

•May, 1999 – ECHO Ministry receives tax exempt status as a 501(c)3 corporation

•March 1, 2000 – The Ark opens at 625 N. Bridge St. in Elkin. The first guest checks in that day, and The Ark has not been empty a single night since opening day.

•May, 2002 – The Ark Board decides to begin a capital campaign to design and build a new and larger facility to accommodate more people experiencing homelessness. The campaign successfully raises $650,000.00, of which $234,650 is a deferred loan from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

•May, 2005 – The Ark Board approves architectural drawings submitted by Thomas Hughes Architects for a 4500 square foot building capable of housing 25 people each night.

•October, 2005 – The Board awards the construction contract to Magnolia Construction Company for a bid of $527,000 for construction of the new building. Construction begins in November, 2005.

•August 28, 2006 – The Ark opens at its new location at 130 Hill St.

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