By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The older men gather together at a round table to chat.
Another, off by himself, reads a newspaper. None is real.
The ladies in dresses and hats gossip in a corner while "those-women-who-are-always-having-babies" sit on the couch, their long fingernails resting on plump bellies. Children, oblivious to the grown-up talk, play jacks on the floor. None of these is real, either.
This display of rag dolls graces the window of Kathryn Hawks Haney's offices in the Phar-Mor Centre on Federal Plaza West. Haney's dream is to have the dolls joined by the real-life people of Youngstown.
Haney, who operates "Give the Children A Chance" Inc. in Suite 3 of the building, has plans to expand her office by 3,000 square feet to create a homelike center for the area's senior citizens and youths.
Here's the plan: The space would be used in the daytime for seniors who would gather for a meal, listen to speakers on various topics, do crafts, learn history, finances or computers and go on trips in the city.
In the evening, youths would gather in the space to do homework or receive tutoring help.
Haney envisions chandeliers, a fake fireplace, couches, plants, rooms for studying and a podium for speakers.
It is Haney's dream. But she is not dreaming alone. As the idea was being formed, Haney reached out for help.
The first to respond was Charles Booth, president and CEO of Don Booth Co. flooring in North Jackson. Booth donated carpet and labor costs.
He received the carpet a a low cost from Mark Farnsworth at Beaulieu Carpet Mills.
"I came down and saw what she was doing ... and how she was trying to help people who needed help and I guess I just got caught up in it," Booth said.
"And we talk about revitalizing the downtown. It's our contribution to help do that."
Also donating to Haney's cause are the Bermann Electric Co. in Boardman and Hines Plumbing and Heating Co., Uptown Paint, builder Philip Smith, plasterer George Reynolds and painter Lonnie Carr, all of Youngstown.
Haney sad she also received a cash donation from WRBP-FM 102 JAMZ, a local station where she is host of a radio show.
Maple Turner, a local artist who studied at Parsons School of Design in New York City, will provide artwork for the new center's black-tie gala in March. A grand opening will be in April.
Praise: Lock P. Beachum Sr., chairman of the "Give the Children a Chance" Board said the center will help serve older adults who live in area senior housing complexes.
"She has a great vision for the downtown area and trying to get people back downtown," Beachum said. "I think every effort helps."
Haney began the "Give the Children A Chance" group for at-risk youngsters in 1995 in response to black-on-black killings in the city. It began as a children's choir.
The children in the choir grew and moved on and "Give the Children A Chance" has transformed into a meeting area where groups from schools and churches learn black history.
Funding comes from donors and the city Community Development Agency.
Haney hopes her new space will help her expand her services to the community.
Without Booth's help, and the help of other "keepers of the dream," Haney said, her vision would not become a reality.
"If the Lord gives us a vision to do something," Haney said, "he's going to give us keepers of the dream."