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To serve those most in need from the "cradle to the grave" with an emphasis on youth and education.
The Potrero Hill Neighborhood House is a multi-purpose, multi-generational community center that has been in operation since 1907. The Neighborhood House was envisioned as a pillar of the community; offering programs to enrich the lives of individuals and enhance the quality of life for all residents, as well as helping people navigate different issues from the settlement era to the current day. Our organization has helped spearhead communities' need to address these changing issues from anti-alcohol women's activist campaigns during the Prohibition era to raising money to purchase an ambulance to be sent overseas during World War II to supporting Conscientious Objectors fight to abstain from participating, as well as fighting to end the war in Vietnam in the seventies to advocating for equal rights of minorities and providing methods to achieve economic justice for all. Our current vision is to embrace this tradition of service through outreach, education, skill development, compassion and caring while continuing to advocate for the equal rights of all Potrero Hill residents to live in a clean, safe and economically viable area in San Francisco.
Organizational & Program Ideology:
Potrero Hill Neighborhood House offers a "microsystem" of "family privilege" to all members within our community to help children, youth and seniors overcome potential risks from educational deficits and violence to hunger. We begin with our Head Start program, for pre-school children ages three to five years, that offers low-income working families year-round free childcare. Once in school, we continue supporting our families by offering a Summer Enrichment program with daily activities and outings to children ages six to thirteen years. As our children progress, we find the next crucial step in their development is between thirteen and eighteen year-olds where they being to fall prey to negative environmental forces; therefore, we offer an after-school program called "Experiment in Diversity (EID)," which offers educational supports, cultural enrichment and employment training.
Community health, personal wellness and safety are the cornerstones of our youth programs intervening and providing physical, social, mental and behavioral health services to our youth, particularly youths living in disadvantaged communities permeated by drugs and violence is of the utmost importance to the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House. Therefore, we provide comprehensive services beginning with an on-site school counselor that works with our youth interceding and mediating, when necessary, in the hopes of adversely affecting the epidemically high school drop-out rates in San Francisco's Southeast community.
Our supportive model continues for those youth that have experienced the juvenile system and are incarcerated. We continue our supportive services with a Peer Guidance and Counseling program, on-site at Juvenile Hall, for boys involved in violence where they can talk about the difficulties overcoming violence in their lives. We encourage our youth to stay involved because we understand that the additional focus, interest and structure that we can provide them will help them improve their social skills, have fewer "socio-emotional problems," and affect recidivism.
It is a priority for Potrero Hill Neighborhood House to support, develop and implement programs that expand our youths' ability to become healthy, productive, and capable members of our society. We continue to support our youths' efforts and address substance abuse issues by offering ZAP, a substance abuse and anger management program for adolescent youth and young adults, between the ages of eleven and twenty-five years. This program provides intensive outpatient counseling and case management services on an individual and/or group basis. We offer group and individual counseling and case management, on-site and off-site, to both pre-trail/ex-offender individuals and youths in long-term training programs.
We continue to offer a service model that helps low-income unemployed and underemployed individuals become self-sufficient. The Good Faith Employment Programisan employment program that offers continual supports to clients from initial assessment to preparedness training to employment and beyond. After we determine job readiness, we help individuals remove barriers to employment, making referrals to GED or basic job skills programs. As we prepare and reassess our clients' skills, placement to trade schools, environmental training programs or direct placement to employers is also made based on skill level. Counselors will continue to support the needs of newly placed clients and assist high skills training programs and employers with retention.
Community is the cornerstone of Potrero Hill Neighborhood Houses' ideology and we strive to include all members within our community by providing healthy options for their lifestyle choice. Therefore, we provide an array of classes that cover issues of safety, physical activities, addiction, and information dissemination. We offer supportive services to the community to assist individuals dealing with addictive behaviors through our Alcoholic, Narcotic and Gamblers Anonymous meetings. We also provide wellness classes, free of charge, such as Tai-chi, Yoga and Karate in an effort to promote healthy lifestyle choices in the community.
Last but not least, are our seniors programs, which are the backbone of Potrero Hill Neighborhood Houses' service delivery model. We offer a Senior Nutrition & Activities Program, which provides daily hot meals, as well as activities such as bingo to engage our seniors in our family orientated community where they can interact make friends and enjoy themselves. We also offer a very popular bi-weekly pantry to our seniors in partnership with the San Francisco Food Bank.
Finally, our most loved program, our Senior Development & Adaptive Program, which is a special program that offers daily activities and community outings to mentally and physically disabled seniors. This is a special program, not only, because it is embraced as part of our family community, but because many of our seniors have been with us for more than thirty-five (35) years and they offer the organization stability. Our program is also unique because, unlike many larger facilities, we are able to adapt our program to meet the pace of each individual, which allows for differences, choices, individual guidance and community support.
- Deirdre Keane
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