Celebrating Black History Month: Honoring Our Community Centers and Their Legacy

Family & Community Services, Inc.

February is a time of reflection and celebration as we honor Black History Month. At Family & Community Services, we take immense pride in acknowledging the rich history and invaluable contributions within our programs. Today, we shine a light on three long-standing community centers that have played pivotal roles in transforming lives and fostering unity within their neighborhoods.

King Kennedy Community Center

Established in 1978, the King Kennedy Community Center stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of community activism and empowerment. Situated in McElrath Park, a once underprivileged rural community, the center was born from the collective vision of community members of the McElrath Improvement Corporation and dedicated students from Kent State University. Inspired by the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy, the center became a beacon of hope and opportunity, offering a space for residents to learn, grow, and thrive.

Skeels-Mathews Community Center

Since the 1960s, the Skeels-Mathews Community Center has been a cornerstone of Ravenna. Founded by Deseree Liddell, Vernon L. Mathews, and community residents, the center emerged from the Skeels Improvement Corporation’s vision to uplift their neighborhood. Despite facing financial challenges, the center persevered under the steadfast leadership of Deseree and her daughter, Sharon Sanders. Today, the Skeels-Mathews Community Center continues to embody the spirit of service, providing vital programs and support to children, teens, and older adults, thanks to the dedication of its volunteers and community partners.

Chagrin Falls Park Community Center

Chagrin Falls Park Community Center (CFPCC) was established in 1954 to serve the low-income community of Chagrin Falls Park nestled on the outskirts of Bainbridge, OH. Revered as the heart of the neighborhood, the CFPCC offers a diverse range of supportive services to uplift children, families, and seniors facing challenges. From after-school tutoring programs to a well-stocked food pantry and compassionate case management services, the CFPCC stands as a symbol of resilience and solidarity, fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment within the community.

As we commemorate Black History Month, we honor the legacies of our community centers and the countless individuals who have dedicated themselves to creating positive change. Their stories remind us that the pursuit of equality and justice is not merely a journey of the past but a continuous endeavor that requires the collective efforts of all who believe in the power of community and solidarity. Together, let us celebrate the past, embrace the present, and inspire a future filled with hope, opportunity, and resilience.