Community Center at Visitation
2646 Kensington Ave. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125
Chantel Brown, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (215)-426-9422
Often, Kensington is identified as the neighborhood in the Philadelphia region that is most severely challenged by poverty, gun-violence, houselessness, addiction, and crime. The Community Center at Visitation (CCV) is a safe place where a dedicated staff and a host of partner organizations empower their neighbors with love, hope, and resources. While CCV is its own 501C3 organization, it is closely affiliated with Visitation BVM Catholic Church and School.
CCV’s approach is both empowering and holistic. Those who seek assistance do a self-assessment to figure out where they are in their lives and what assistance they need. CCV then accompanies them as they select which services to receive and how they can contribute to the health of their community. They volunteer at CCV and, at the same time, as needed, they receive legal services, mental, spiritual, and physical healthcare, help with housing, food, courses in English, literacy, computer skills, and more. During the winter of 2022, 200 persons participated in adult education classes, 50 families relied on CCV for food assistance, an average of 75 persons attended monthly family night dinners, and 45 adults and children attended monthly “Community Days.” Whenever children participate in CCV programs, their parents are included so that everyone in the family is integrated into healthier habits and decision-making.
CCV also focuses on developing neighbor to neighbor relationships to stabilize the community. While people wait for health services and food distribution, they are brought together for conversation. “Community Day” brings families together. Community dinners foster friendships. In addition, partnerships with other organizations provide both additional resources and a wider network of personal relationships. Partners include Interfaith Philadelphia, New Kensington CDC, Christian Legal Services, Reading Allowed, Esperanza, and Healing Hearts. CCV, with the help of Sister Maria Hornung, brings together representatives of twenty-two houses of worship for quarterly gatherings.
Best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion guided the process of building CCV’s committed and talented staff. Nearly all are members of the Kensington community and, together, represent its cultural, religious, racial and linguistic diversity. Their personal qualities and skills have been recognized, and they have risen to positions of leadership at CCV.
CCV’s wide variety of services are engaged with, and sensitive to, the pressing needs of people in their neighborhood. They are having a significant impact bringing shalom to a key neighborhood of our city. They have successfully brought local people out of situations of hopelessness and need into meaningful volunteer and even leadership roles. They play a strategic role in Kensington by working alongside other churches, ministries and non-profits for greater collective impact.
CCV’s mission and values are aligned with Zones of Peace. As an organization they exemplify their hopes for a just, peaceful, and equitable community. With their programs and coalition partners, they address the root causes of violence and build a better community. CCV is, indeed, a Zone of Peace.