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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

EAST END NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The EAST END NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE was established in Cleveland in 1907 (inc. 1911) by Hedwig and Anna Kosbab, daughters of Josip Kosbab, a Hungarian immigrant. Located at 2749 Woodhill Rd., the settlement has served the BUCKEYE-WOODLAND-Woodhill community. Initially, the Kosbabs offered sewing and cooking classes for neighbors, but soon created a formal organization to meet the needs of HUNGARIANS, ITALIANS, and other Southern European immigrants moving to the area. The first Board of Trustees of the East End Neighborhood House included SAMUEL MATHER†, ROLLIN HENRY WHITE†, and ORIS P. VAN SWERINGEN†. By Hedwig's death in 1922, the settlement had served nearly 70,000 people with classes, clubs, and recreational programs. During World War II, the settlement sponsored scrap drives and blood donations, as well as a controversial relocation program for Japanese-Americans within its neighborhood in 1944.

Director DOROTHY SMITH† attempted to mend post-war rifts, working with trustee MARIE WING† to secure community representation on the board. Robert Bond, head of Goodrich House, assumed control of East End soon after Smith's resignation in 1955 and jointly operated the settlements as the United Neighborhood Centers. He launched "Meals on Wheels" and programs designed to better tenant-landlord relationships and address changing neighborhood needs. Bond resigned in 1963 to direct the GREATER CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOOD CENTERS ASSN.. In the ensuing years, East End modified its board and staff to reflect the new clientele (largely African American by the 1970s). The settlement's program evolved in part in response to area needs, as well as newly available federal funds. In the 1960s and 1970s East End attended to senior citizens and expanded to include daycare and mental-health services, dropping much of the initial club and class work. By 1975 federal funding accounted for 65% of the $540,000 budget.

In keeping with the avowed goal of the organization-to support and complement the community as it served people at every stage in life through a variety of programs and activities, the East End Neighborhood House offered services for senior citizens, preschoolers, school-age children, foster grandparents, and provided the community with a youth resource center, adult, senior, and youth employment, scouting, piano classes, Alcoholics Anonymous, and transportation.

The flagship program of the East End Neighborhood House since 1993 had been the Rites of Passage Program. This co-educational program was developed by Paul Hill, Jr. to help elementary- and middle-school age students, particularly black males, bridge the troublesome period between adolescence and adulthood. Modeled on traditional African coming-of-age ceremonies and rituals, the program fostered , community pride, personal pride, and pride in one's heritage among the participants by cultivating respect, responsibility, faith, and unity through a series of character-building activities. Among other notable programs sponsored by the East End Neighborhood House were therapy services offered in conjunction with North East Ohio Health Services (NEOHS) and the Foster Grandparents Program which encouraged senior citizens to volunteer their time to mentor local students.

Paul Hill, Jr. served as the president and executive director of the East End Neighborhood House since 1981. In 2007, the East End Neighborhood House received a $255,000 grant from Saint Luke's Foundation to ready a new leadership cadre to take over the community organization in preparation for the retirement of Hill in the near future.

Last Modified: 09 Dec 2015 01:53:05 PM

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