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Hawthorne Community Center

Executive Director
Getting Better With Age

By: Hawthorne Executive Director Diane Arnold


Did you know that September is Healthy Aging Month?  Hawthorne has numerous services and activities to help those on the Near Westside of Indianapolis stay strong and active as they age. 


Healthy Aging Month is meant to provide inspiration and resources to adults over the age of 45 (That’s young!) to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well-being.  Hawthorne provides services that address each of these areas. 


Our goal at Hawthorne is to make sure that area residents have what they need to stay healthy and engaged throughout their lives.


Hawthorne provides a number of services and activities each month for older adults including a daily hot, home-cooked meal; wellness and exercise activities; grocery shopping and other field trips; bingo and euchre games; and volunteer opportunities. The social activities help with mental health by helping older adults connect with their peers and others.


Hawthorne’s Center for Working Families can also help older adults approaching retirement or those on fixed incomes make the most of their money by providing financial education, computer and internet access and tax preparation. 


It’s never too late to take care of yourself…physically, mentally and financially!  If you know an older adult that could benefit from our services, please refer them.  Just reach out to Dawn Dunderdale with questions about our Older Adult programs.  Dawn can be reached at 317-637-4312, ext. 121 or by email at ddunderdale@hawthornecenter.org. 


Real Life, Real Results

By: Hawthorne Executive Director Diane Arnold

We’ve been keeping a lid on this success story for weeks because we didn’t want to scoop this amazing story in the Indianapolis Star

But we are so proud of Laura Warrick, who has been working with Hawthorne’s Center for Working Families for five years and just purchased her first home!

When we first met Laura, she had just moved to Indy from Kentucky and was working overnight at a convenience store.  She learned about Hawthorne and our many services through her sister. Laura then reached out for the help she needed to find a better job, create a budget, reduce her debt and go from renting one of our homes to owning her own house. 

What I love most about Laura’s story is that anyone can do what she did.  Change won’t come to your life overnight.  As Hawthorne’s Mary Stevenson said in the article, “It didn’t take you two minutes to get here.  It’s going to take you more than two minutes to get out of this situation.”

But change is within your grasp.  Just know that there are people and resources to help you right here at Hawthorne, no matter what goals you have for yourself and your family. 

Cooking is the Key

By Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold

Too many in our country and community are facing health problems including high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Genetics play a role, but so do poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. 


Hawthorne has been trying for decades to help ensure that we are all a little healthier by providing exercise opportunities.  Now, we’re helping address diet. 


We’re offering a series of FREE cooking classes in September and October to help you make healthy, delicious, easy meals on a budget.  You don’t have to be a Food Network Chef or spend hundreds at the grocery to help your family eat and feel better. 

Participants will receive a free bag of groceries each week to help them practice recipes on their families.  We’ll also take a field trip to the grocery store to learn to shop for healthy and affordable food for under $10.  

The program is sponsored by the Indy Hunger Network and Walmart and supported by the Marion County Health Department and Top 10: Transforming Health in Central Indiana. 

Classes will take place September 6, 13, 20, 27 and October 4 and 11.  Each class will start at 6 p.m. and last until 8 p.m. in the Hawthorne Community Room/Kitchen. (Please park and enter at the NORTH end of the building.)

We have a limited number of spots available.  Please reserve your place in the series of classes by emailing ddunderdale@hawthornecenter.org and edillahunt@hawthornecenter.org today!  You can also call 317-637-4312.  


Here’s to yummy, healthy eating!

Helping Our Neighbors Find Jobs
By Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold

One of the most rewarding services Hawthorne provides is helping our neighbors find jobs and advance to even better jobs. That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about what we are calling our “Exceptional Employer Job Fair.” 

The employers who have agreed to participate have immediate openings and will accept applications on-site and even do interviews on the spot.  They may even make job offers at the event! Together, they have several hundred jobs to fill. 


The fair will take place later this month at Haughville Branch Library at 2121 West Michigan Street.  The event is scheduled for Thursday, August 17.  It will take place from 1-5 p.m. and is a joint effort of the Haughville Branch Library and Hawthorne's Center for Working Families.  

The job fair will be free to potential employees. Need help with a resume or application?  A “job workshop” will take place at the same time as the job fair so that applicants can get the help they need. 

Companies participating include Managed Health Services, Durham School Services, Volt, EmployIndy, the U.S. Army, LGS Staffing, Walmart Fulfillment Center, FedEx Express, Work Here, Early Learning Indiana, Family Development Services and O'Neal Manufacturing Services.  

For more information, contact Paulette Gardiner at 317-637-4312 or by email at pgardiner@hawthornecenter.org. 

If you attend and get a job, we’d love to hear about it!  Feel free to email me at darnold@hawthornecenter.org.

Thank you to the United Way!

By: Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold


I was incredibly honored Friday morning to attend an announcement by the United Way of Central Indiana.  They announced that Hawthorne Community Center will receive $750,000 over three years to help adults and children in our neighborhood! 


The award is part of a total $2,775,000 given to four local organizations as part of the Great Families 2020 initiative.  The initiative is designed to help families in neighborhoods with the most need.  Great Families 2020 is funded in part by a grant from the federal Social Innovation Fund and is modeled on the “Two Generation” approach.  Neighborhood networks in education, financial stability and health services are integrated to serve the entire family. 


This money will enable us to serve 115 adults and 115 children in our Near Westside neighborhood through our Center for Working Families and early education programs. 


We can’t do it alone.  We’ll be partnering with the Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) to provide a comprehensive approach to helping families in our neighborhood.  MCCOY will provide wraparound services for our families and help them become healthier and improve their well-being. 


It’s not going to be easy.  But we are incredibly grateful to have these new resources to help identify and get rid of the things standing in the way of self-sufficiency and success in our community.


Making Everyone Feel Welcome

By: Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold

One thing that makes our neighborhood special is the diversity we have among our residents.  Hawthorne is proud to partner with the Immigrant Welcome Center to help ensure that everyone feels welcome and has access to the services they need.


Did you know that we have a Natural Helper from the Immigrant Welcome Center at Hawthorne every Thursday from 4:30-7:30 p.m.?  Dora is our normal volunteer, but every once in a while someone else is available. 


The Natural Helper connects immigrants and refugees with services they need close to their home and work.  They have contacts with various social services agencies, health care centers, schools, places of worship, job training centers and other organizations that can provide direct help.  


Why is this important?  These services help empower immigrants, who are also our neighbors, by connecting them to resources to help them build successful lives in Indianapolis.  When one of us succeeds, we all win. 


Feel free to visit Dora this Thursday at the Center for Working Families at Hawthorne and please share the fact that she’s here with anyone you think could use some assistance!

Backpack Drive: Final Push

By: Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold                                                

Our Family Night Carnival is one week away!  We’re hoping to give away 200 backpacks to hand out to children who frequent Hawthorne and those living close to the center at the July 20th event.  However, we still need donations to meet that goal and help the kids (And their parents!) have a great back-to-school season.   

You can give in two ways…either buy the backpack and school supplies or donate funds and we’ll do the shopping for you!  Each backpack will cost about $10 if we shop carefully.  If you do the shopping, just drop it by Hawthorne Community Center by Wednesday, July 19.  Donating?  Then drop the money by Hawthorne, mail it or visit our website to give online. 

The backpacks will be given to kindergarten through eighth grade kids, so a variety of sizes are needed.  We don’t want the smaller kids overwhelmed by huge backpacks.

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) actually provides a school supply list, which we’d like to follow.     

Here are the school supplies we’d love to have, in addition to backpacks:

·       24 packs of crayons or colored pencils

·       Two-pocket folders

·       Hard plastic supply boxes

·       Cloth supply pouches with holes that can be put in binders

·       Child-size scissors

·       Pink erasers

·       Packs of yellow #2 pencils

·       Composition notebooks

·       Packs of dry erase markers

·       Large white glue sticks

·       Boxes of zip top bags

·       Kleenex boxes

·       Packets of disinfectant wipes (like Clorox)

·       Hand sanitizer with pumps

·       1 ½ inch binders

·       Packets of loose-leaf paper


Back-to-school can be an expensive time for families between buying clothes and shoes, paying for books and getting supply list items.  We want to help make sure everyone starts the school year off on the right foot with the needed supplies and a great, new backpack! 

Thanks for giving whatever you can. 

A Story of Independence

By: Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold

Many people don’t know that Hawthorne Community Center’s Center for Working Families (CWF) provides incredible education and economic support services for adults.  CWF offers employment services, financial education, high school equivalency (HSE) and GED classes and tutoring, English classes, tax preparation and so much more!

I’m so proud of one woman, in particular, who has used the center’s many offerings to help her become her best self. Angie Wilson

Angie Wilson began working with CWF in 2013 when she enrolled in our GED classes to help her get her high school diploma.  She quickly earned the GED in just over four months!  But, she wasn’t done there.  She enrolled in Ivy Tech Community College in early 2014.  She remained involved with the center and received college tutoring to help her breeze through the most difficult courses. 

CWF also assisted Angie over the years to help ensure she maintained her financial stability and with the costs of fees related to her medical classes at Ivy Tech. 

I’m so thrilled to share that Angie proudly walked in Ivy Tech’s graduation ceremony this past May and is spending the summer finishing her final classes and externship.  She will officially graduate August 1st!

If you want to add to your education and training, like Angie, please contact our Center for Working Families by calling 317-637-4312, or plan to attend our orientation.  It’s held the first four Mondays of each month, unless there’s a holiday, through December 11.  Orientation starts at 10 a.m. sharp and lasts one to two hours, depending on turnout. You’ll learn how we can help you reach your goals.

We hope to see you there!


Hawthorne Families Need Your Help!

By: Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold


The good news is that our Summer Camp is more popular than ever!  The bad news is that the need for our summer programming is much larger than we had expected and budgeted for.  Hawthorne is currently serving more than 150 children daily from 6:30 am until 6:00 pm.


That means we’ve had to hire extra staff and pay for additional activities that weren’t in our summer budget…creating a funding gap of about $10,000! 


We simply couldn’t turn anyone away!  Let me share one example of the families we are helping and why our Summer Camp is so important. 


A family of five is currently squeezing into a tiny hotel room and living there full-time.  Mom is employed, but struggling, and the stepfather is looking for work. 


Our Summer Camp gives the six-year-old and nine-year-old girls and their eight-year-old brother a break from the cramped conditions; a chance to learn, grow and have fun; and, most importantly, a guaranteed breakfast, lunch and snack each day.


The kids are making incredible memories while mom goes to work and stepdad searches for a job to get them out of the hotel and back on their feet. 


Please consider donating $10, $25 or more to help families like the Smiths.  You can mail a check to Hawthorne or click here to donate now.  Any amount you can spare would be appreciated!


I love that I can count on those who have been served by Hawthorne in the past or who understand and appreciate the important work we do in the community. Thank you for your continued support of our organization and the many individuals and families we serve. 


Summer Fun

By: Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold


Countless adults in the Hawthorne neighborhood can’t think of summer without remembering the great times they had at our Summer Camp and the lifelong friendships they made. 


The 2017 camp is underway for kindergarten through 9th graders and the weekly rates vary based on income from $45-$200. 


We’ve got a great program this year! Hawthorne Summer Camp includes four field trips per week plus activities and programs including skating, bowling, swimming, sports, arts and crafts, Camptown adventures and fire safety.


There’s tons of fun on the schedule.  But, there are some really important things our campers receive besides the constant activity.


They receive quality childcare from 6:30 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. on weekdays so that their parents can continue to work and provide for their families or go to school to secure the family’s future.


They are guaranteed a nutritious breakfast, snacks and a hearty lunch to give them energy.  This is incredibly important since Marion County has a 22 percent child food insecurity rate.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that means 22 percent of kids in the state’s most populated county have limited or uncertain access to food that supports a healthy life. 


We also are taking part in Gleaners’ BackSack program to send weekend backpack snacks home.  Each BackSack includes shelf-stable food that does not need refrigeration and has enough food in it for five small meals and a snack. 


Our programs also help prevent “Summer Slide.”  Hawthorne provides campers with academic opportunities to keep their skills sharp so that they can go back to school ready for lessons without having to have as much (or any!) remediation.  They also develop social skills and their creative, artistic sides through activities with other children. 


Hawthorne has been providing quality youth programs for more than 90 years and multiple generations have attended our camps.

Please post your favorite camp memories on Facebook and let me know how camp positively impacted you.  I can’t wait to read your posts! 



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