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Hawthorne Community Center

Executive Director
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! 



Jayla Heckman Spirit Award Winner Chosen

By: Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold

There was too much cuteness in the Hawthorne gym Friday night when our preschool – 6th grade dance students put on the annual talent show, followed by a Family Night dinner in the community room.  The kids looked great in their costumes while showing off the dance moves they’ve learned.

One very special part of the night came nearly at the end of the talent show when the winner of the Jayla Heckman Spirit Award was announced.  Jayla’s dad, Russ, volunteers five to six hours a week to help with the show and is one of Hawthorne’s most committed supporters.  Jayla was a mischievous, delightful soul who was in and out of the hospital throughout her life.  However, she remained positive until her death nearly three years ago at the age of 24.  Her spirit now lives on in the award her dad bestows in her name every year. 

This year’s winner is eight-year-old Natalia Castaneda, who was picked for her commitment to the dance program, her positive attitude and hard work.  Congratulations to Natalia!  We’re so proud of her and all of the other young dancers who bravely got on stage in front of a packed house!

You can see more photos of the talent show on the Hawthorne Community Center Facebook page.

This is just the beginning

By Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold

This week, our preschoolers marched down the gym floor for graduation.  The ceremony is one of my favorite events of the year because it’s the cutest thing you can imagine to see these adorable little boys and girls in their caps and gowns.  This annual event also brings tears to many an eye as these beautiful youngsters complete their preschool experience and prepare for the next step of their academic journey. 

I’m a big believer that quality preschool programs like Hawthorne’s help level the playing field for all children and give them a solid foundation for the future.  If children receive early education, they begin kindergarten ahead of their peers who didn’t attend preschool.  They often have more knowledge and increased social skills.

I’m so proud that Hawthorne offers preschool that is affordable. Education should be available to every child, not just the ones with the parents who make the most money or those that happen to live in the “best” zip code. (I happen to think that would be our neighborhood!)

Preschool should be a safe space where children get nutritious meals, receive guidance in how to behave and get along with others, learn the basics of education, and have fun with their friends.  But most importantly, preschool should excite children and spark a lifelong joy for learning.  I was so moved to see that excitement on the faces of the Hawthorne Class of 2017 and I wish them a bright, successful future! 


By Hawthorne Community Center Executive Director Diane Arnold

I have some exciting news that I just couldn’t wait to share…our annual Day at the Track set for this Wednesday, May 17, is SOLD OUT for the first time ever!  We even increased the number of tickets we had to sell from 150 to 200 this year and each and every one of them is gone.  

What does it mean?  Each ticket sold means we are raising more money for our programs for children, older adults and working families.   It means we have THE BEST supporters around, and it means we are attracting new people to our mission and center. 

We are so grateful to everyone who is joining us at the track and to our supporters.   Sponsors include Indianapolis Motor Speedway, PNC Bank, Asset Recycling, Core Planning Strategies, Holladay Properties and Old Town Design Group.  We couldn’t do it without them. 

For those lucky enough to get a ticket to the day, here is the schedule:

10 a.m.  - Indianapolis Motor Speedway Gates Open

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Hawthorne Program in Pagoda Suite 6 & 7, including Silent Auction!

11:30 a.m. - Lunch Served

12-6 pm.  - Verizon INDYCAR Series Practice

6 p.m. – Gates Close

I hope to see you there! 

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