Hawthorne Youth and Community Center, Inc.
9 Fulda Street
Author: Samantha Sadd, Director
Known as the “little organization that could”, Hawthorne Youth and Community Center, Inc. (HYCC) has provided quality affordable programs for low and moderate-income youth, families, and Highland Park residents since 1967. HYCC started as a club for teens in a coal cellar and launched a Positive Youth Development program for 6-18 year olds when it moved into 9 Fulda Street, a three-story building, in 1970. Strong community support led to the formation of a Board of Directors and incorporation as a non-profit organization committed to enriching the lives and developing the skills of youth. When fire destroyed our facility in 1973, HYCC continued youth programming in donated space, secured a deed to 9 Fulda Street, and raised capital funds. In 1984, we moved into a new facility, a one room steel frame building on the site of our original home.*
HYCC offers youth opportunities to participate in diverse educational, cultural, recreational, and vocational activities that help prepare them for academic, career, and personal success. In addition to acquiring new skills, participants gain self-confidence and practice teamwork to accomplish goals. Hawthorne youth have shared their artistic accomplishments in 13 First Night Grand Processions and 9 Community Creations Exhibits at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and entertained at over twenty holiday celebrations at Marcella Park. History in the Highlands, a documentary revealing what the Hawthorne explorers learned about the historic significance of their neighborhood, was screened at the 9th annual Roxbury Film Festival. Middle and high school students hand crafted benches that enhance the Hawthorne site, worked with architects to design and build a sustainable storage shed for the center, and worked as peer leaders, camp counselors, and counselors in training.
HYCC builds community by conducting activities and offering services to Highland Park residents. The Dollar a Bag Program, a collaboration with Fair Foods, offers community people access to produce, bread, and other items at a nominal fee and monthly meetings of the Hawthorne Area Association bring residents together to discuss development, environmental, public safety, and other issues with state and city representatives. As a Boston Park Partner, HYCC offers community youth and adults instructional walking, soccer, and double Dutch programs, sponsors holiday celebrations and multicultural entertainment, and engaged community people in creating a 148’ ceramic tile mosaic “Mural for Marcella Park”.
- Holy Trinity (German) Catholic Church acquired the parcel bounded by Highland, Hawthorne, Ellis, and Fulda Streets in l888 with money raised by the church’s St. Joseph’s Society for the Assistance of Widows, Orphans, and the Poor. The site contained an orphan asylum, a home for aged poor, a rectory, a chapel, a grammar school, and a high school for girls. In the late 60’s or early 70’s, the Catholic Archdiocese closed these facilities and leased the parcel to Hawthorne House. Hawthorne Day Care Center, Highland Park Free School, and Hawthorne Youth Center occupied the site and the Archdiocese deeded the parcel to the latter two organizations in the l970s. All of the original buildings burned in the late seventies and eighties.
(*information courtesy of Holy Trinity German Catholic Church website and Dianne Zimbabwe).