Christine W. Avery Learning Center: A Family Dedicated to Serving the Community


If you ask Kyla Morton, Program Coordinator at Christine W. Avery Learning Center what the diamond in the rough from the challenging year battling COVID is, she will laugh and tell you that it was more stressful than she could have imagined, yet she felt the warmth of her community and coworkers closer than ever. "We're definitely a family around here," says Morton. "Everyone jumped in and we barely skipped a beat learning the ropes of the safety regulations to remain open, serving our families in every way that we could.


A Family Dedicated to Service

And if you're familiar with this invaluable nonprofit early learning center serving children and families since the 50's out of its Hill Street Baptist Church home, that won't come as a surprise. What began as a daycare facility offered through the church under her grandmother's care hasn't wavered in meeting low-income families through the years.

As they shifted to keep their doors open serving their community, Morton also managed to find time to volunteer in support of fellow nonprofits efforts on her lunch break and in the evening hours. When asked if she managed to sleep in 2020, she laughs and says, "Well, we're a family dedicated to service." And those sentiments are certainly true. Morton is the daughter of CWA's Executive Director CiCi Weston, warmly known as Mrs. CiCi around the center.


Weston was a long-time children's caretaker and family coordinator in Asheville City Schools and YWCA before transforming the daycare into CWA in 2017. After falling ill in 2018, Weston called her daughter who was finishing up her graduate degree in Public Health to discuss possibilities in supporting her and helping keep their family's childcare facility open.

"This is home. This is a community that has done so much for me as I grew up here, until I was in high school and reaching out to MAHEC for healthcare resources which led me to studying Public Health in college," she shares.


Feeding Into Community...

After returning  home in 2019 to support her mother, Morton began managing the center just before the COVID pandemic began. She returned to school for childcare courses that would further her education and earn her a licensure in childcare. And somehow in between all of her work, she volunteered, supporting our School Supply Drive meeting students and families with the supplies they need to return to school, helping pack and sort food for the community through MANNA Foodbank and at the Community Engagement Market at Isaac Dickson Elementary just beside the center, writing notes of care for Bounty & Soul to place in their market boxes, and supporting Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina

Stay Connected + Get Involved!

The Christine W. Avery Learning Center is expanding and needs volunteers to support students through virtual learning. "Everyone is welcome. There are no special skills required. The biggest thing is helping kids with their assignments. They're pretty self-sufficient in that they know how to get into their classwork, but then we have to get them to stay in it and not look at the birds flying outside for a moment," she laughs.

Explore Opportunities to lend a hand as a volunteer supporting students through our volunteer center Hands On Asheville-Buncombe.