The mission of Jefferson Street Center, Inc. is to promote social justice for all, with a special emphasis on improving the quality of life for individuals and families living in the surrounding community. The Center works with the community to identify needs and seeks the community’s support through communication with residents, local neighborhood associations, businesses, and institutions. By fostering cooperation among community groups and residents, JSC seeks to solve problems of mutual concern through a variety of service and support programs.
Originally founded in 1987, the Jefferson Street Center was once the Jefferson Street Child Center, Inc. JSCC operated First Step Children’s Center at Hanover Presbyterian Church. Its mission was to provide safe, quality child care for families regardless of the ability to pay. The 2008/2009 economic downturn led to the closing of First Step in 2010, and Jefferson Street Child Center, Inc. transitioned to a new framework to serve the greatest needs of the community.
Since 2010, the JSC board served as a communal facilitator, linking partners and service organizations together to benefit the community. In 2008, the downstairs area in Hanover was transformed and named The Gathering Place. In 2013, JSC and Hanover entered into a partnership in which JSC serves as the administrative organization responsible for the operations of the Gathering Place. Jefferson Street Center, Inc. provides oversight and support for programs, and maintains The Gathering Place which includes a food pantry, a portable hot dog cart and café, a clothing closet, a gymnasium, and a place where individuals and organizations hold meetings and connect.
In 2013, JSC was instrumental in forming a Delaware Readiness Team called the “Hanover Dream Team.” The Team started working in the neighborhoods surrounding Warner and Shortlidge Elementary Schools. Funded by the Early Learning Challenge Grant, in partnership with private foundations and corporations, Delaware Readiness Teams were—and continue to be—part of a state-wide initiative offering a unique opportunity for communities to build linkages between early learning and K-12 schools and support the “readiness” of young children (birth to age 8) for school and for life. Through focus groups, and community assessments, we learned that personal and organizational connections influence how a person feels about their community. These positive connections also extended to social and emotional development and school readiness for children. The Team identified goals of improved communication within and across neighborhoods and creating an environment for positive change.
2016 - Present
This experience prompted JSC and the “Hanover Dream Team” Delaware Readiness Team to submit a proposal through the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research and Service to become a Blueprint Community®. In 2016, the Washington Heights Blueprint Community® Team (WHBC) was formed, with JSC serving as the fiscal agent. Through the support of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and the training and consultation resources of the University of Delaware, the WHBC team presented its revitalization plan in February 2017. Jefferson Street Center, IN. and the Hanover Presbyterian Church figure prominently as “anchor” institutions for the community revitalization initiative. Today, JSC continues to promote social justice and an improved quality of life for those in the community. Our renamed Jefferson Street Blueprint Community® revitalization initiative also works towards these goals for its community.
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Jefferson Street Center, Inc.
1801 N. Jefferson St., Wilmington Delaware 19802