Settlement House

“If you could make it through the wobbles and the buckles in the floor at the Neighborhood House, you could skate anywhere.”

This is an audio excerpt from Just What a Neighbor Does. To see the full video, click here.

Transcript for Settlement House

So, I grew up in a working class neighborhood on the west side of Gary, in the Tolleston community. And my father was a steel worker-he worked at the tin mill and my mother actually coordinated a building for Gary Neighborhood Services which was a multi service center, and she was sort of in charge of all the tenants, and making sure that the building was clean. The predecessor to Gary Neighborhood Services, or GNS as we called it growing up, was the Gary Neighborhood House which was part of the Settlement House movement, a movement in communities throughout the North where churches in our case, the United Methodist Church, would establish houses for individuals who were migrating North from the South. There were a lot of people who migrated from Mississippi, Alabama, and other Southern states to work in the mills here. And so, the Settlement House would give them temporary housing, give them a sense of community, help them get settled in, and then allow them to get involved, get integrated into the community. It still provided a base of activity for the community for senior activities. I was a 4-H member there. You know, we had a very vibrant urban 4-H program. I learned how to cook, I learned how to sew. I can probably still do a pretty good hem with a sewing machine, and I know I can slipstitch because I still do it now. And those were the type of activities from seniors, to daycare, to teenagers that went on in the Neighborhood House. We skated on this floor that was, you know, really wobbly, but it made you a good skater. When you went to a real rink, you were a pro because, you know, if you could make it through the wobbles and the buckles in the floor at the Neighborhood House, you could skate anywhere.

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