There are many reasons why community centers are great to have in the neighborhood. They are a safe place for children to go after school. They make more jobs in the area and also hold events like dances and parties.
Community centers serve as an affordable place for children to learn, have fun, participate in activities, enjoy themselves and, most of all, spend time with their family and friends. Children need a place to play, a place where they can make friends and feel they belong, and community centers provide that.
The Mantua Haverford Community Center has been providing the Mantua community with quality educational and human services that serve to restore the community. They offer programs to youth, adults and families to encourage creativity and personal development while also helping to improve the neighborhood.
MHCC’s mission is to provide programs and activities that empower the community and its residents to become both socially and economically self-sufficient. In order to improve the quality of life of its residents, MHCC offers concrete services and programs which include after school and summer camp programs, educational programs, day care, health awareness programs, computer technology classes, life skills and leadership development.
The community center has coordinated community meetings to prevent crime, drugs and other conflicts within or involving the community. There are many issues and problems that these wider employed under-educates and low-income city residents face, but the resources to resolve them are very limited. They provide a structure for programs and opportunities for residents to address their needs and improve their quality of life.
The Community Center gives out food twice a month and also runs a basketball league. Anyone has the opportunity to rent out the center whenever they like, such as for drill team practices, events, after school programs and other activities. Monday through Thursday, the center is rented out by two different drill teams. Anything else the public asks, they are allowed to come in and do it.
MHCC is currently in the process of transforming into a preparatory school. Monroe says St. Agatha Preparatory School will be open next month and will be using the outline given to them by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. They aren’t a religion-based school but they will have nuns to teach the religion classes that will be held after school.
Director of St. Agatha Preparatory School Arthur Monroe has been at the Mantua Haverford Community Center for about 16 years. As director, Monroe does day-to-day operations. He has a staff of 24 with eight teachers and the rest our other support staff.
“We want to provide children with the same education that we had,” Monroe said. “Most of the staff went to Catholic school so we want our children to have that education too.”
In the Mantua area alone, many Catholic schools have closed. There were two Catholic high schools and five catholic elementary schools in West Philadelphia. Some of these schools include Our Lady of Angels, St. Thomas More, St. Gregory, St. James and St. Leonard’s Academy. There are no longer any Catholic schools around from 34th Street to 42nd Street but St. Agatha Prep won’t be considered a Catholic school. They’re a preparatory school using the archdiocese guidelines and then using the Catholic religion to teach religion after school. The curriculum is from the archdiocese.
Children have been tested and it was found that children who are in public schools are two to three years behind those who attend Catholic schools. St. Agatha Prep will be hiring tutors to make up for that gap and will be extending the school year until August.