Using her retirement funds, Mrs. Simmons opened an after-school tutoring program in 1984 called The Minority Youth Appreciation Society Learning Center — there was no physical center, but she had plans to build one. Her effort included help with parenting skills for the children’s families and help with homework.
Around 1988, she purchased an old house in Church Hill with the intent to remodel it. A newspaper article about her efforts came to the attention of a local contractor who called offering assistance.
After seeing the house, he told her it should be demolished. He pledged to demolish it and offered financial and labor assistance to build a new building. The center, constructed at 1803 N. 28th St., was finished in 1992.