JPC offers Community Development, Special Needs Housing, Nutrition, Recreation, Mentoring and Advocacy

Positive change continues at Johnson Park!

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It Was a Very Special Evening

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

 Johnson Park Center Commitment to Positive Change

SUNY Polytechnic Institute's Psychology and Sociology Club in conjunction with the West Indian and African Club and the Veteran Club hosted its 12th Annual Benefit Dinner on Friday, March 20, 2015 at Daniele's Banquet in New Hartford. This year's beneficiary is the Johnson Park Center (JPC), in honor of JPC's constant commitment to positive change for the past 20 years!


Festivities at the event included a presentation of awards to prominent community leaders, speeches by SUNY Poly students and faculty, a buffet dinner, silent auction, raffle drawing, 50/50 raffle, and magic show. Dr. Stephen Wu, JPC Board Member and Hamilton College professor, performed live music throughout much of the dinner.

Rev. Dr. Scates, D.D. also made a speech, in which she thanked the Mohawk Valley, the Oneida County, the City of Utica and the Johnson Park-Cornhill community for standing alongside her through the years, particularly the children. It was the children who helped her to clean the neighborhood and it was the children who taught her about the trials of the neighborhood – and often it is through the children that we see the triumphs of the neighborhood. Positive change is real and tangible in Cornhill!

A Very Special Evening

Various community businesses and individuals sponsored tickets that allowed many Johnson Park-Cornhill community members to attend the event. Without sponsorship, most of our JPC program participants and neighborhood community residents/volunteers would never have the opportunity to attend such an event. JPC could not be more grateful that the experience could be extended to so many worthy individuals and families.

The Benefit Dinner was just the beginning of a year of events to celebrate JPC's 20th Year in the Johnson Park-Cornhill neighborhood! Thank you to SUNY Poly students, Dr. Tichenor, Dr. Joseph, and everyone who attended this beautiful and special event!




Johnson Park Center (JPC) is located in the Johnson Park-Cornhill community of Utica. In 1995, JPC CEO/Founder Rev. Dr. Maria A. Scates, D.D., a formerly homeless veteran, came to Utica and went to the worst area in the inner-city: Johnson Park-Cornhill. It was known for drugs, crime, violence, gangs, murder and full of trash, garbage and debris.

Through vision, dedication, commitment and hard work and with our community development strategies anchored in affordable low-income safe and supportive housing, we've seen the revitalization of the Johnson Park-Cornhill Community. Today Johnson Park is a beautiful, clean and safe and place where the homeless, the poor and the needy can come get help.

Through supportive housing and our various programs we teach our program participants the ABC's: to 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, are now considered and able to serve as community assets.

To date, JPC has receive over $10 million dollars for our capital projects & operations funds which has created a total of 31 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 includes recreation/education/ positive socialization for children and their families, a food pantry, a community garden and a nutritious meal feeding program as well as mentoring/advocacy and life coaching.

Thank you so much for your continual support & Join Positive Change at JPC!