As those of us who volunteer on the Board of Directors reflect on the past year, we are proud of The Brick House’s ability to maintain a stable downtown presence as a teen center and public gathering space, while also rising to meet some of the emerging needs of our community.
Our organization depends upon community ownership and involvement…we rely on local donations
As a community center, we provide access to resources, support, and social and cultural opportunities for teens and families, both downtown and in the broader area. Under the leadership of Dana Mengwasser, staff at the Teen Center has been thinking outside the box about making the space a safer and more welcoming one for marginalized youth, while continuing to provide for all community youth. Over the summer several workshops about oppressive behavior and safety were organized and well attended. This fall we welcomed in two new Teen Center staff. Amber Wilmore-Hurley is our new Programs Assistant in the Teen Center and Ricia Elwell-Socci is our new RISE AmeriCorps member.
Our work in connecting parents and families with resources has made it clear that there are special unmet needs among Spanish-speaking parents in the community. This year we have solidified our role as an organization they approach for advice and assistance, thanks to the hard work of staff member Rebeca Escalona Rosas, and after Rebeca moved out of state, Abby Graseck. This has meant everything from being part of a regional network that provides services to immigrants, to giving one-on-one support to families navigating a variety of barriers to accessing available services.
2015 saw a huge rise in the use of our building by community organizations and individuals. This increase in shared use has meant more social and cultural opportunities for everyone in the community, and as a happy side effect, has been bringing in a new group of volunteers. Last month, our Movement Studio was completely repainted by two volunteers from Green River Yoga. Other volunteers are currently working on a new website design, helping our Teen Center research grant opportunities, and helping with the coordination of our community space rental program.
If you have ever considered volunteering at The Brick House, now is the time to get involved. We are sure we can find a way to connect your skills and interests with what we do. We’re currently looking for adults in the community to help cover Teen Center hours, which will help free up our staff for running more structured youth programs. We’re also looking for folks to join our growing Board of Directors. Board meetings are open to the public for observation, and happen once a month on Monday evenings. We find the
work interesting and rewarding. Get in touch with us if you are interested in either of these opportunities!
In 2015, we also celebrated our largest level of direct community financial support than ever before. Thank you to all of our long-time supporters, as well as to those of you who donated or volunteered for the first time last year. Our organization depends upon community ownership and involvement, and more specifically, we rely on local donations for a number of items in our budget that the grants we receive will not cover, including important repairs on our building. If you have not yet, we’d like to invite you to make a financial contribution to support our work.
Your participation matters, whether it is a donation of your time or money, or just coming down to enjoy what we have going on. It is an exciting time at The Brick House and we hope to see you around in 2016!
Anna Hendricks, Mike Jackson, Neil Young, Deborah Frenkel, and Meghan Carr