Greenwich House: a settlement house past and present

Greenwich House: a settlement house past and present
Greenwich House has been serving the community for 111 years. Photo via Greenwich House.
Greenwich House has been serving the community for 111 years. Photo via Greenwich House.

Greenwich House has been serving the community for 111 years. Photo via Greenwich House.

Founded 111 years ago by reformer Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch, Greenwich House began as a place to help improve the lives of the expanding immigrant populations in the neighborhood. While times have changed, Greenwich House continues to serve seniors, children, and families with services such as arts education, after-school programs, substance abuse programs, and social and health programs. We here at the Greenwich Village Society have been singing the praises of this organization since 1991, when it won an Annual Village Award, but its recent work on behalf of the neighborhood is worth looking at once again.

A Greenwich House outing. Photo via Greenwich House.

A Greenwich House outing. Photo via Greenwich House.

In 2011, Greenwich House took over the management of another long-standing Village institution in need of help, the Caring Community, an organization that provides hot meals, care and wellness programs, and cultural outings for Village seniors. Now these programs continue under the auspices of Greenwich House, at Greenwich House-Caring Community Centers at Independence Plaza, Our Lady of Pompeii Church and Washington Square Park.

With the closure and sale of the Children’s Aid Society Philip Coltoff Center building on Sullivan Street (a building which GVSHP fought to landmark), Greenwich House once again stepped in to continue services that would have gone by the wayside. Now children in the community can continue to access academic and art-based programs after-school through Greenwich House.

A young pottery student at Greenwich House Pottery.

A young pottery student at Greenwich House Pottery.

And a discussion of Greenwich House, which has its main headquarters at 27 Barrow Street, is not complete without exploring the work of Greenwich House Music School and Greenwich House Pottery, both also located in historic buildings. These arts programs within Greenwich House continue to bring cultural education to under-served students across the city. Greenwich House Pottery has even recently launched a campaign to create a ground level exhibition space, a space that has not been renovated in eighty-five years and that will bring ground floor access to ceramics exhibitions to the community.

Thank you Greenwich House for your service to the neighborhood for over 100 years!

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Sheryl
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Sheryl Woodruff was GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations until December 2014.

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