Rockford’s Neighborhood Centers Alliance celebrates 20 years
In 1992, area neighborhood center directors saw the importance of sustaining healthy neighborhoods and formed the Neighborhood Centers Alliance (NCA) with a goal of sharing best practices, ideas and networking opportunities.
The NCA is composed of Booker Washington Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, Harlem Community Center, Ken-Rock Community Center and Northwest Community Center.
Rockford Park District joined NCA to support the work of the neighborhood centers, since they complement the work of the Park District by delivering quality recreation services to citizens.
Twenty years later, these same five centers are now celebrating the 20th anniversary of their collaboration with “Neighborhood Centers Alliance Week,” scheduled for July 17-23. The celebration includes a variety of events at each center, along with a fund-raiser, “Neighborhood Centers Alliance Day,” at Magic Waters Waterpark.
Chip Stoner, Boys & Girls Club of Rockford executive director, explained: “We are excited to mark this very special anniversary week. We would like the community to take time to stop by their neighborhood center to see the many wonderful activities and programs each center is providing to the individual neighborhoods they serve.”
Ken-Rock Community Center Executive Director John Guth added: “The demand for programs and services offered continues to increase, as does the cost of doing business. To meet this demand, NCA will continue to work together to leverage opportunities, increase visibility and improve our operating efficiencies.”
Neighborhood centers improve the quality of life for people who live, work, learn and play within the community. Anyone living near a neighborhood center has access to a variety of affordable resources, programs and activities for all ages. For example, Northwest Community Center (NWCC) is a catalyst for personal, social, professional and economic development.
“We serve northwest Rockford, which is a densely populated area,” said Jim Peterson, NWCC executive director.
Neighborhood Centers reflect the needs and interests of those whom they serve, which include providing the following: access to technology centers and computer classes; active and passive recreation and leisure; employment training, literacy and GED classes; affordable child care; a safe harbor providing enrichment activities for youth and teens to learn; mentoring, counseling and a variety of family support services; a place to gather for cultural and social events; free meals and snacks for neighborhood youth; and wellness programs with an emphasis on youth obesity.
Ovester Armstrong Jr., Booker Washington Community Center executive director, explained: “We offer a safe environment before and after school, along with the summer months. When school is out, we encourage our youth to read and learn more in order to avoid destructive or dangerous activities.”
In 2011, NCA was able to serve 150,000 individuals in 11 neighborhood locations.
Harlem Community Center Executive Director Shannon Scheffel said, “Neighborhood Centers Alliance directors are all committed to sustaining healthy neighborhoods through a collaborative approach to doing business that maximizes efficiencies, leverages additional resources, and utilizes best practices in providing these critical community services.”
Neighborhood Center Alliance Week
Stop by any of the following locations during select times, and experience what area community centers have to offer people of all age groups. Refreshments will be available.
Thursday, July 19
Northwest Community Center Open House — Northwest Community Center, 1325 N. Johnston Ave., Rockford. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Blackhawk Boys & Girls Club Open House — Blackhawk Boys & Girls Club, 330 15th Ave., Rockford. 4-7 p.m.
Booker Washington Community Center Open House — Booker Washington Community Center, 524 S. Kent St., Rockford. 5-8 p.m.
Friday, July 20
Neighborhood Centers Alliance Day at Magic Waters: Public Invited — Magic Waters Waterpark, 7820 N. CherryVale Blvd., Cherry Valley. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. $14.50 per person. Enjoy a day at Magic Waters Waterpark knowing you are giving back to area community centers; $2 from every ticket sold goes back to each neighborhood center. If the event is canceled because of weather, pre-purchased tickets can be exchanged for a ticket good any day during the rest of the 2012 season. Tickets can only be purchased at NCA member locations, including Booker Washington Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, Harlem Community Center, Ken-Rock Community Center and Northwest Community Center.
Monday, July 23
Ken-Rock Community Center Open House — 3218 11th St., Rockford. 5-8 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 7
Harlem Community Center’s Hand-N-Hand Childcare Center Open House — Harlem Community Center’s Hand-N-Hand Childcare Center, 8301 Mitchell Road, Roscoe, Ill. 6-7:30 p.m.
Neighborhood Center Alliance members
Following is information about each NCA member:
• Booker Washington Community Center, 524 S. Kent St., Rockford, www.bookerwashingtoncc.org: Booker Washington Community Center promotes the quality of life, values and welfare of the community through education, arts, recreation and cultural programming. In 2011, Booker Washington Community Center served more than 500 people, and specializes in providing GED services, CeaseFire violence prevention, Just Imagine Girls Mentoring program, along with senior citizen exercise and computer classes. New to the Booker Washington Community Center, a YMCA branch where you can join and participate in wellness and fitness options.
• Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, 1040 N. Second St., Rockford, www.Rockfordboysandgirlsclub.org: The Boys & Girls Club of Rockford formed to improve the quality of life for youth in the community regardless of sex, race or economic background. Boys & Girls Club of Rockford served more than 7,000 individuals in 2011, and focuses on improving academic success, healthy lifestyles and building characteristics of future leaders.
• Ken-Rock Community Center, 3218 11th St., Rockford, www.kenrock.org: Ken-Rock Community Center works daily to enhance the quality of life for children and families in recreation, education and social services in the Rock River Valley. In 2011, Ken-Rock is expected to serve more than 35,000 people, and focuses on youth sports, senior services like Ken-Rock Elderly Apartments, along with summer camps, and computer and babysitting classes.
• Harlem Community Center (HCC), 900 Roosevelt Road, Machesney Park, Ill., www.harlemcommunity.org: Harlem Community Center promotes a strong community by offering a broad range of programs that support the educational, social and recreational needs of families and individuals. HCC touched the lives of 100,000 individuals and provides recreational programs like baseball, softball and basketball. HCC also provides licensed child care, and social and instructional programs.
• Northwest Community Center, 1325 N. Johnston Ave., Rockford, www.northwestrockford.org: Northwest Community Center works to improve the quality of life for diverse populations of northwest Rockford. Last year, Northwest Community Center served more than 7,000 people, providing before and after school programs, out-of-school suspension, job placement and computer classes.
From the July 18-24, 2012, issue
Print This Article