West Oak Lane is home to many community centers, churches and offices that serve as gathering places for its residents. The West Oak Lane area is focused on building “community” by bringing residents together through different opportunities in the neighborhood. These efforts help make the area close-knit and allow people in the community to contribute in a way that helps the greater welfare of the neighborhood and city as a whole.
Simons Community Recreation Center, 7200 Woolston Ave., serves as an after-school meeting place for children living in the neighborhood. The recreation center offers many different activities for children to participate in, such as dance, art, sports and also homework help. With beautifully painted walls filled with lively colors, the sound of children playing in the main gym echoes throughout the facility. The program director, Amenah Claiborne, exhibits a passion for providing children with a safe and organized environment. The center’s other activities and programs also add to the community atmosphere.
West Oak Lane Senior Center, 7210-18 Ogontz Ave., helps older adults in the area connect with one another and provides them with specific services that cater to their needs. The space builds community by giving senior citizens a place to go and enjoy themselves, while also providing opportunities to get involved in their neighborhood.
The Office of state Rep. Dwight Evans, 7174 Ogontz Ave., gives residents of the area a voice in government through the lawmaker and his staff. Whether it is finding out more about the neighborhood, city or even state, a state representative’s office provides people in the area an outlet to get information, ask for assistance and voice their concerns for the community.
Upper Room Missionary Baptist Church, 7298 Ogontz Ave., is celebrating 40 years of ministry. Whether it be a fundraising event for a charity organization or the church itself, the Upper Room Missionary Baptist Church hosts events for the community in which residents are given the opportunity to get involved.
Concerned Black Men, Inc. , 7200 N. 21st St., is a center that focuses on mentoring young black men and helping boys in the neighborhood. The services offered at Concerned Black Men provide useful resources for young men in the community.
– Text and images by Talore McBride and Chelsea Ann Rovnan.