Booker T. Washington Community Center Keeps ‘Mind, Soul, and Spirit’ Foremost

“They have art, a gym, and a game room available, and every week there are programs designated as STEM classes,” says Ebony Brock, who is director of the BTW Center as well as a coach. of life, a lecturer and an ordained minister.

The community center is part of the Great Miami Valley YMCA. Children from neighborhoods like Riverview and Jefferson participate in the programming for approximately $25 membership fee per year, an affordable rate for families, and financial assistance is also available.

The community center completed a recent renovation to upgrade the pool BTW. Children in the community will learn about water safety as well as how to swim, adding valuable life skills to the many other ways BTW enriches their lives.

The center also hosts art classes for seniors, a food program and many other initiatives.

Brock plans to add additional programs in the future, including making it a space used by people from all walks of life.

“I want to continue adding holistic programs that focus on mind, soul, and spirit. That’s the Y’s mission,” says Brock. “We want programs that help engage, educate, and equip, not only our children, but other members of the community.”

One of the strongest things about BTW, Brock points out, is the tight-knit team they’ve created. Many staff and volunteers are long-term, choosing to make BTW a working home for decades, and all show a particular desire to care for children.

“Everyone here is very well connected in the community,” says Brock. “It’s a solid and committed team.

When looking for new volunteers and partnerships for programming, Brock follows the 3 Cs approach: she wants people to be involved and engaged, consistent and caring, because she knows that children bond and have need consistent models.

Thanks to the loyalty of so many of the BTW team members, the kids are gaining confidence from being lonely when they start dating and truly coming out of their shells.

“My hope is to see our children grow up to be agents of change, good stewards of their gifts and talents. I want people to say BTW kids are on the cutting edge of art, social responsibility, STEM, community service, etc. says Brock. “Our kids here know we expect them to be great. Excellence here is not an anomaly, it’s the norm.

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Jill E. Washington