Lena Park went through a comprehensive assessment and community planning process to determine what services and programs are needed most. Community residents were actively involved and voiced their needs on what is lacking in our immediate area. Many adults expressed a need for supplemental educational services for their children during out of school time hours. Also recreation in a safe location was important to many families. Due to these meetings and additional strategic planning, Lena Park is providing services under five different umbrellas as a multi-faceted Community Center and they are being phased in over the course of the next three years. These areas include:
FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER –Lena Park offers a variety of resources to meet the needs of families. Our hope is to see families grow and thrive and become independent from needing governmental support. As a result, we provide a wide-range of opportunities for families to build stronger bonds. These include parenting support groups, Little Learners child/parent playgroup, parenting classes, and a family nurturing program provides life skills and resources to assist the many different types of families residing in the Lena Park catchment area. Building a stronger family network is one of our key focuses to improving our community and reducing negative behaviors and violence.
Also periodic educational workshops are being offered to empower families with knowledge on finances, getting out of debt, healthy eating and cooking, and how to access government resources. There are weekly Fair Foods and Fresh Truck food distributions, and monthly Family Fun Nights or Family Movie Nights to promote family well-being. Also we provide clinical services to individuals and families on a case by case basis. This assistance and programming will help our families gain the necessary skills and education to thrive.
TECHNOLOGY – Lena Park values technology as a skill necessary to prosper in our society. During renovations we strategically built a state of the art technology classroom to give individuals and families the option to use computers on a daily basis in an open format or to take a class and go deeper with one’s typing abilities or Microsoft Office skills. These classes will give families opportunities to move forward in their education and determine if they are interested in pursuing a career that involves technology. Current classes include Intro to computer applications, keyboarding, social media workshops, robotics class, MS Office class, and open computer access for the public to use. Class offerings and hours vary and are offered on a recurring basis. The Tech Café is also used daily by the children and youth in our Kids Connect Afterschool Program.
VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS –Lena Park values culture and the arts as a form of positive self-expression that aids creativity, vision, self-identity, empowerment, healing, leadership, and artistic skills that betters both oneself and the community. We offer a variety of classes change on a seasonal basis and cater to any age. Programming includes crochet classes, comic strip book making classes, Books of Hope Boston, I DREAM, Spoken Word In Motion, open mic nights, adult creative writing classes, and African Dance. LPCDC is also developing a Fab Lab which will open in the spring of 2016. This visual arts technology lab will offer 3D printing, laser cutting, engraving, precision milling, and circuit production to help youth and adults gain STEM and entrepreneurial skills.
RECREATION –Lena Park offers a variety of both traditional and non-traditional sports and fitness classes to expose our primarily urban clientele to recreation they may not otherwise have access to. Our goals are to provide both a safe place for recreation and have opportunities available as a form of health and wellness. Our classes are offered in Lena Park’s full size gymnasium, all purpose room, outdoor playing field, and basketball courts. Programming includes tennis, basketball, baseball, soccer, dance, kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do, Zumba, Yoga, P Fitness class, open gym, Men’s 40+ and 50+ basketball leagues, AAU youth basketball leagues, and Double Dutch. Some class offerings are seasonal and operate on a recurring basis.
Also during the summer our Kids Connect program offers swimming in partnership with the BCYF Holland Center and tennis lessons in partnership with the Sportsman Tennis and Enrichment Club. LPCDC also has a partnership with Franklin Park to offer a golf program.
YOUTH EDUCATION –One-third of all residents are under the age of 24. We believe these young people are our future and it is vital to invest in them and their educational needs. We serve children of all ages and focus on providing supplemental classes and programs to improve reading, math, literacy, and STEM skills. Also through our classes and programs children and youth are improving their social skills, emotional well-being, and physical health.
Services include STEM programming, homework, and tutoring support through our Kids Connect afterschool program, our Kids Connect Summer out of school time program, and our Youth Council, which focuses on leadership development, mentoring, community service, and college and financial aid preparation.