On Saturday August 8, 2015, the New York City Mission Society will host a 50th Anniversary Block Party to celebrate a half-century at Minisink, its flagship Central Harlem community center.
For five decades, the Mission Society has provided generations of children and young adults with academic and cultural enrichment programs at Minisink, to help them succeed in school and in life. The Mission Society’s focus on strengthening their educational achievements has made a positive, long-term impact on youth in the City’s most underserved communities, in addition to providing them with workforce development and restorative justice programs.
“The anniversary of our Central Harlem home – and more than 95 years in Harlem – represents our longstanding relationship with the community, and celebrates all of those whose lives have been made better by our comprehensive educational, cultural enrichment and workforce development programs and quality services,” said Elsie McCabe Thompson, President of the New York City Mission Society.
This year is not only an opportunity to mark this occasion, but to showcase all of the new programs that will create more academic and career opportunities for future generations.
Mission Society staff and alumni, community leaders, local businesses, elected officials and neighborhood residents will come together to commemorate the 50th anniversary from Noon to 6 PM. The event will take place on 142nd Street from Lenox Avenue to Fifth Avenue.
A formal program with remarks by elected officials and community leaders will take place on 142nd Street.
Alumni of its programs have become remarkably successful and have included the city’s first Black principal, first black district superintendent, first Black deputy police commissioner, and a current U.S. Congressman.
The Mission Society established activities in Harlem in 1920, recognizing the neighborhood’s deteriorating social and economic conditions. The organization’s staff initially was headquartered in churches. But in 1945, the Harlem-based staff left its church offices and set up headquarters in a brownstone called Minisink Townhouse.
In 1965, a new Minisink Townhouse was built at 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue – and to date this facility remains the Mission Society’s primary hub of activity in Harlem.
Many of the thousands of children and families who have come through its doors have viewed it as a second home, a supportive and safe environment where they developed their character and honed their skills.
To mark the anniversary, the Mission Society has reached out through a variety of networks to encourage decades of alumni to return to Minisink on August 8 and to share their stories.
To chronicle those accounts, the Mission Society will set up an “Are You a Minisinker?” booth at which Minisink alumni can share personal stories about their experiences at Minisink.
Additionally, the block party will feature performances, games, food, and a range of activities, and showcase some of Mission Society’s newest programs, including the restoration of its drum and bugle corps.
During its more than two-century history, the Mission Society has focused its efforts on combatting poverty. At present, the nonprofit offers education and youth development programs at seven New York City public schools and four community centers in Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and the Lower East Side.
Its Restorative Justice programs connect youth who are court-involved and/or at-risk for crime and gang activity to mentors, educational enrichment, community engagement, and supportive social services to prevent recidivism and guide them on a path to success.
For more information about participating in the New York City Mission Society’s Minisink 50th Anniversary Block Party, contact Paul Persaud at [email protected]