Johnson Park Center (JPC) to Celebrate 17th Anniversary at Youth Center
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Contact: Marques Phillips 315-235-5766
UTICA, 11/14/12 - It was 17 years ago today that Johnson Park residents heard the words that would change the fate the their neighborhood: "Positive Change has come to Johnson Park." On November 14, 1995, Rev. Dr. Maria Scates, D. D. founded JCTOD and Johnson Park Center (JPC) and began picking up litter, clearing debris and telling the criminals that had taken hold of the neighborhood that they were no longer welcome in the historic Cornhill neighborhood.
"It's amazing that time has gone by so fast," Rev. Dr. Scates said. "It's been a miracle what we've been able to do down here, but we could have done it without the people that came on board with me 17 years ago and said they wanted change."
JPC will be celebrating this anniversary as part of its Youth Center programming from 6-to-9 p.m. tonight, including a Thanksgiving meal for the children that attend. The children will give reasons why they will not use drugs, outline their goals for the future and give reasons why they're thankful for the past. Rev. Dr. Scates said its fitting that the celebration take place with the neighborhood because the children are the ones that helped her get a foothold in the Cornhill community.
"It was the children that began cleaning up with me, and many of them who told their parents about what we were doing," she said. "Once we had the children on our side, the neighborhood began to trust us."
About Johnson Park
JPC is located in the Johnson Park-Cornhill community in the inner city of Utica.
In 1995, JPC CEO/Founder Rev. Dr. Maria A Scates, D.D., came to Utica and went to the worst area in the inner city called Cornhill. It was known for drugs, crime, violence, gangs, murder and full of trash, garbage and debris. But through vision, dedication, commitment and hard work and with our community development strategies anchored in affordable low-income safe & supportive housing, it has caused the revitalization of the Johnson Park-Cornhill Community. Today, Johnson Park is a beautiful, clean and safe place where the homeless, the poor & needy can come and get help.
Through supportive housing and various programs, we teach participants the ABC's which means: be A- accountable for your actions, B- set boundaries in your life; C- be committed to positive change and we recently added D- make a decision to do it. It's about changing people lives, attitudes and the community. Though supportive housing, people like Rev. Dr. Scates, who were once considered a community liability, have become community assets.
To date, JPC has receive over $9 million dollars for our capital projects which has created a total of 33 safe & supportive housing low-income permanent housing for homeless mothers, children and single females. We also provide emergency housing services for traditional and non-traditional families and women. Our strategies for community development include recreation/education/ positive socialization for children and their families, a food pantry, a community garden & a nutritious meal feeding program as well as mentoring/advocacy and life coaching.