In 1924, two local women who were concerned about the welfare of their neighbors opened a neighborhood center on the North Shore. 90 years later, Northside Neighborhood House has changed its name, location and leadership but remained true to its mission—to provide a hand up, not a hand out to neighbors in need.
On Feb. 14, 1924, Mrs. Rose Longgley, Mrs. Emily Page Schelessinger, and other supporters chartered the North Chattanooga Community Center (Northside Neighborhood House). In its infancy, the center addressed a wide range of needs such as helping the sick, patching marital riffs, providing kindergarten and teaching sewing and quilting.
“So much has changed since our inception, and we have been very open to change when it comes to growing to meet the needs of our clients,” said Rachel Gammon, executive director of Northside Neighborhood House. “In recent years, we have increased our operating budget, workforce, and capacity to meet the needs of clients, but have never lost sight of our primary focus to provide support to our neighbors.”
Keeping with its founding mission, the NNH still offers an array of services and provides a hand up, not a hand out through education and assistance. Service to the community is provided through three programs: Emergency Direct Assistance, Education for Children and Adults and two Thrift Stores. The Emergency Direct Assistance program provides financial help with utilities, food, and prescriptions, as well as budgeting and direct referrals to other agencies in our community. Education programming includes after-school and summer tutoring and enrichment programs for elementary, middle and high school students, basic education help for adults with the goal of obtaining their GED and enrichment programs for seniors and adults. Needed clothing, furniture, and other items are provided to residents, free of charge or at a minimal cost through our Thrift Stores.
“Northside Neighborhood House is here to help our neighbors through hardships, but we also work hand in hand with our clients to help them become more self-sufficient,” said David Kesler, NNH board president. “We are excited to be celebrating 90 years of service with impact and look forward to being a resource for neighbors in need for many more years to come.”
NNH will host a series of events throughout the year to celebrate its 90th anniversary. The main event will be a 90th Birthday Celebration on March 13. The event will be from 6-8 p.m. at Stratton Hall. Tickets are $24 and can be purchased by visiting http://nnhouse.org/donateandsupport/ or calling 423 267-2217.