Skeels-Mathews Community Center

Our mission is to improve the educational, cultural, recreational, social, and governmental aspects of the community and surrounding areas.

In the mid-1960’s, Deseree Liddell, Vernon L. Mathews, and community residents began working together to form the Skeels Improvement Corporation (SIC), which was finalized in 1968, as a means to improve their neighborhood. Shortly after, the Skeels-Mathews Community Center received funding from the Portage County Community Action Council for its first permanent location on Arbeco Street. In 1980, the Center moved to its current location on Skeels Street in Ravenna, but soon after, Community Action Council dropped them from funding due to lack of funds. Deseree continued to work at the Center for three years after that with no pay. The residents held monthly fundraisers to help pay for the building utilities until the United Way of Portage County started funding them from 1983 to present.

The Center itself was built thanks to a grant from the Portage County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. In 2000, an addition was built through the same funding that included a larger kitchen, clothing giveaway room, computer lab, three offices, a food pantry, and most importantly, a children’s room named in Deseree’s honor.  Sharon Sanders, Deseree’s daughter, started volunteering for the Skeels-Mathews Community Center in 1980 and is now the director at the Center. Today, the Skeels-Mathews Community Center continues to be the place of hope for the community, focusing its programs on children, teens, and older adults.  Many of its programs are implemented with the help of dedicated volunteers and community partners. Skeels main goal is to help further the growth and education of young people.  

PROGRAM HOURS: 
Monday- Friday: 9:00AM-3:30 PM 

PHONE: 330-297-0192

EMAIL: [email protected]

ADDRESS: 4378 Skeels Street, Ravenna, OH 44266

Community center children hold drawings from activity.

WHO WE SERVE

The Skeels-Mathews Community Center serves all ages, with a special focus on youth and seniors.  The center offers a variety of community programs, including weekly congregate meals, daily home-cooked lunches for seniors, activities for seniors, adult nutrition and computer classes, and holiday dinners and special events.

Skeels-Mathews also provides a safe place for youth to go after school and during summer break where they can receive after-school tutoring, educational programming, and free meals for breakfast, lunch, and a snack. A mentoring group for youth is also offered. 


175

youth and seniors served

150

academic tutoring sessions provided

17,000

breakfasts, lunches, and snacks served

After School Programming

Skeels-Mathews Community Center offers After School Programming that is open to youth of all ages in Portage County. Services include daily homework support, studying for tests, assistance with make-up work, and individual sessions as needed. Our program works closely with Ravenna City Schools to communicate each student’s needs, and helps to complete requested activities provided by teachers. After-school aids are comprised of community volunteers and partners, including retired teachers, Kent State students, and Foster Grandparent volunteers. Services are available on alternating days at both Skeels-Mathews Community Center and King Kennedy Community Center, Monday through Thursday, from 4-6pm. Our goal for the After School Program is to provide educational enrichment to youth that builds social and emotional skills, increases confidence, and helps youth achieve academic success.

Foster grandparent volunteer with kids holding activities at community center.
Family holds educational poster at Ravenna community center.

CURRENT NEEDS

We are always in need of volunteers and donations.
Our current donation needs are:

  • School supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning supplies

Making An Impact

Mother whose family benefited from the community center services.

"I think the Community Center is very beneficial to our children. I had 5 children that attended the Summer Program, ages 4-13, and 2 are in the after-school tutoring program. The kids loved the educational, social, and fun activities that the Center offers. They were able to stay engaged in something positive while learning new things. Being new to Ravenna, they helped me find the resources I needed through referrals, and volunteers often provided me with transportation to these referrals."

– Jameca E.