The last couple of months have included a whirlwind of celebrations, programs full to capacity, government shutdown angst, and a polar vortex!

We are grateful for the support provided by local government and Michael Corey from the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County to ensure accurate communication to our clients regarding service provision during the shutdown. We hope it is the last of its kind in the near future.

Academy for Community Entrepreneurs

Central Community House has launched an entrepreneurship program — ACE at Central, our Academy for Community Entrepreneurs. We are thankful to Ohio CDC and PNC for helping make this initiative happen. This dynamic, collaborative initiative will serve individuals in the Near East at Central facilities, and will bring together the best industry experts Columbus has to offer:

  • Entrepreneurship courses will be taught by Deonna Barnett of Aventi Enterprises.
  • Susan Colbert of the OSU Extension will teach FDIC Money Smart modules.
  • Creative industry networking and expertise will be offered by Central’s Jackie Calderone, Director of Transit Arts.
  • Table talks will be moderated by Nancy Tidwell of NRT & Associates, who also will provide unique procurement and technical expertise to those working within construction industries.
  • Access to capital resources will be provided by the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI).
  • Wraparound support, asset-focused engagement, and linkages to all things Central will be a value added of this unique initiative.
Art by Richard Duarte, Commissioned for Central’s Village Maker Awards
“The Settlement House Heartbeat: Cradle to Grave”
We will be holding this year’s Village Maker Awards the evening of Thursday April 4th at the Boat House at Confluence Park. The origin of the popular saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is a mystery, with many connecting it to an ancient African proverb. The concept, though, has clearly been the guiding force of Settlement Houses since the late 1880’s. This event will honor those who consistently work or act for the good of our entire community, who put others above oneself to make the world a better place.
Would you like to nominate someone for a Village Maker award? Reach out directly to me at and I’ll be sure your nomination gets to our committee.
This year’s keynote speaker and community hero is Councilmember Priscilla Tyson. While there are many reasons she is deserving of this award, this year we honor her for her bold leadership in establishing the Commission on Black Girls, with the goal of implementing solutions to ensure opportunities, successful futures, and the achievement of a high quality of life for Black Girls in Columbus.
“Rise Above” by Katerina Harris
Kids make emotion masks during afterschool and spoke about what makes us happy and sad.
Since I have started my work at Central, the value of the term Settlement House and associated characteristics has surprisingly been one of debate. What I have also found is that once the meaning and practical implications are clearly stated, the debate dissipates. Our values are critical and unique during a time when many stakeholders speak of problems being fixed in more efficient manners that include virtual support, phone numbers to access during crises; and niche providers that refer folks after their work has been finished, often into a daunting and confusing social services ecosystem that families need help navigating. This is not to say that there is not a place for these solutions, but critical, too, are those that focus on comprehensive service provision, empowerment, relationship and rapport building, removing isolation and bringing neighbors together to lift each other up. This is critical for long-term, positive impact.

What makes Central’s Settlement House approach unique?

Comprehensive Service Model

  • Central provides comprehensive, onsite support services in the Near East of Columbus, Ohio.
  • Programming includes child care, afterschool, and summer camp; crisis and basic needs assistance; youth, family and senior support; workforce services; innovative art education and incubation; and health and wellness.
Focus on Assets
  • Central’s thoughtful, comprehensive, and asset-focused engagement result in increased levels of empowerment and hope, ultimately instilling a future-focused mindset that increases the impact of material assistance, education, and supportive services.
  • Without increases in these critical indicators, accomplished through true relationship building, empathy, and rapport building, research has found over and over that what remains are “Band-Aids” needing to be reapplied throughout the years.
Longevity, cultural competency, and deep roots
  • Central has demonstrated a consistent presence in a facility that “belongs” to the community in which it resides – where a majority of residents are African American and low-to-moderate income, and where Central clients live, work and/or socialize.
  • Approximately half of Central staff and volunteers have had decades of continuous engagement on behalf of Central. They have deep roots and relationships with the community.
  • Our services are intergenerational in focus. It is not uncommon for us to serve one family member through our senior programming, a grandchild through childcare/afterschool/summer programming, and a child through workforce/individual support services/events.
Leadership from the Neighborhood
  • Board members include Near East residents, including individuals who began their engagement as “Central youth” in Elementary School, and successful entrepreneurs who first engaged through services at Central during periods of crisis and trauma.
Ability to combat the local Trust Gap
  • Central Community House has a unique, long history and advantage when it comes to capacity and cultural competency needed to address the palpable trust gap faced by the African-American community.
Pamela Shields, Central Senior Program Leader and creator of the “Big Read” reads to children at the Martin Luther King Library
We are proud of our Settlement House roots, including a movement that resulted in the American Social Work field. As neighborhoods change, national economic trends fluctuate, politics fills the chatter of the media and local barbershop, one thing remains, thankfully, unchanged, and it is the Settlement Houses that act as empowering neighborhood centers in our communities – Central Community House, Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, Gladden Community House, Godman Guild, and Saint Stephen’s Community House.

Until next time, warm regards,

Tamar Forrest, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Central Community House

Comments are closed.