In its old age, Hyde Park Neighborhood Club celebrates youth

The 101-year-old Hyde Park Neighborhood Club will invest in youth programming so the “club will be more stable moving into [its] second century,” its institutional advancement director said.

By Crystal Tsoi

For its 101st anniversary, the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (HPNC) is restructuring its programming to focus solely on youth as part of its “Strategy for a Second Century” mission announced in an August 20 press release.

In response to perceived community needs, HPNC phased out all programs not aimed at Hyde Park youth this fall. According to Beth Parker, HPNC’s director of institutional advancement, Hyde Park youth have the greatest need for the club’s resources.

“Hyde Park has many senior programs, whereas on the other side of the equation, we have very few organizations that were really paying attention to the crying need for places for kids to be safe after school and get mentoring,” Parker said.

According to the press release, HPNC will use its $200,000 state-funded grant to repair and upgrade its current facilities and build a computer lab, literacy center, teaching kitchen, and gymnasium for new programming.

Plans to develop a day care center for young children and maximize the usage of the gymnasium to generate income for the Neighborhood Club are all in the works, in hopes that the “club will be more stable moving into [its] second century.”

While phasing out its other programs, HPNC worked to ensure the transition was supportive for its senior citizen members. “They were very nervous about our relocating their program because they all wanted to stay together,” Parker said.

On the website, HPNC expressed a need to raise revenue for the financially struggling club in order to continue programming.

“It’s really about having facilities here to address the needs of a whole child,” Parker said. “It is really important to us that kids from any economic group should be able to go to an after-school program that offers them literacy programs and athletic activities.”