The East Toledo Family Center
During the course of these years, the East Toledo Family Center provided more programs and activities for the East Side community than at any other time in its long history. The Family Center encouraged the development of partnerships and collaborations to provide young children, youth seniors and families programs that are well rounded, affordable, and designed to follow the mission of the Center.
In collaboration with St. Charles Mercy Hospital, the Family Center invited more families into the Center through our newly opened Parenting Center. St. Charles Mercy Hospital housed their East Park Health Clinic in the Family Center’s new expansion. The preschool programs became available to East Toledo residents through collaboration with Lucas County Head Start. A collaboration between the East Toledo Family Center, St. Charles Mercy Hospital, United Way, Toledo Public Schools, the New Connecting Point, Lucas County Early Start and the AmeriCorps of Northwest Ohio comprises a program called Changes for Life, which helped teen mothers set and realize life goals.
The East Toledo Family Center understood how important it was for working parents to have a place for their children to go when they are not in school. Kids Kare, provided accessible, affordable and high quality before and after school child care for children enrolled in Kindergarten through 6th grade. The Kids Kare program successfully collaborated with over 20 social service and community agencies to offer extended learning opportunities to school age children who attend East Toledo public schools. The Family Center contracted with the Department of Job and Family Services to help low income families afford child care, and with the Children’s Services Bureau to provide a safe place for children that are in temporarily placed in a foster care situation.
Strictly Teens was a free drop-in program for youth when they graduate from elementary into junior high school. The 12-15 year-old boys and girls got involved in activities that interest them, like white-water rafting, camping trips, professional sports events, and Cedar Point. The youth learn in this program to not only have safe and clean fun, but also to give back to the community though service. One project the teens did was to prepare and serve food at the Senior Center for their Senior Evening Meal one evening a month. The City of Toledo recognizes our success and helped us host thousands of children and their families during our Special Events, which include Hop Hoppening, Family Fun Day, Boo Bash and Holiday Hooray.
Also during this period of time, the East Toledo Family Center housed a community policing office. The officers had access 24 hours a day, along with a community meeting room that is used for block watch meetings. Community Policing is a philosophy based upon a partnership between citizens of East Toledo and our police officers. The Lucas County Juvenile Probation Department provided a Reaching Out program supporting services to first time juvenile felony offenders. Through the Lucas County Family Court, the Family Center also provided supervised visits for non-custodial parents, and a community court for minor legal incidents with juveniles.
Other important partnerships for the Family Center originate in the strong relationships we have made within our schools and churches. Pastor Beth and Hans Giller aided in the success of many programs during this time that were held in St. Mark Lutheran Church, and the Family Center has established a link with our local school district, Toledo Public Schools. Hard work and dedication by Bob Clark, who was the Waite School Community Leader, produced many educational programs that members of the East Toledo Family Center and the greater community continued to benefit from.
The Family Center has spent many years planning for success and sustainability of needed programs through state and regional grants, special events, and fundraising efforts, in an attempt to improve the structure and availability of the facility. The Family Center overcame financial challenges with the help of the United Way and built productive relationships in the schools, churches, health care and other social service agencies. We believe that this is the best strategy for sustainability. As the new millennium approached, the Family Center was more than ready to begin its second 100 years. From its humble beginnings in a mission tent in 1901, the Neighborhood House and East Toledo Family Center has provided the East Side community with a century of dedicated service.
At the turn of the century expansion into the various neighborhoods within east Toledo was a focus for the agency. Satellite offices were opened in Weiler Homes and Birmingham and the teen dropin program was housed at St. Mark Lutheran Church. The Family Center’s child care program was the first school-aged program in Northwest Ohio to be accredited by the National School-Aged Care Alliance. The Center also created the Heffner Early Childhood Center in the former Heffner School and moved all ETFC program’s that served young children into this building.
In 2002, the Family Center building was rededicated and named the Warren Densmore Building to honor ETFC’s prior director. After 15 years of services and to close the year 2003, Tim Yenrick left the East Toledo Family Center. The Board of Trustees then hired, Kim Partin, in 2004 to become the new Director of the Center. Kim had been the Family Resource Director for the agency for a number of years and the board saw her compassions and love for East Toledo and knew the Center would continue to thrive under her direction.