Houghton Jones Neighborhood Association
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
MissionTo foster a sense of community by providing enrichment programs targeted for youth and families in the Houghton-Jones and surrounding neighborhoods in Saginaw, Michigan.
What We DoHoughton-Jones Neighborhood Association, officially organized and incorporated as Houghton-Jones Neighborhood Task Force, Inc., (HJNTF) in the fall of 1992. We are a non-profit, tax-exempt neighborhood improvement organization whose mission is to 'Foster a Sense of Community': increase educational and employment opportunities, and empower residents and stakeholders to restore the neighborhood to safety, beauty and comfort.
HJNTF established the following goals to achieve its mission:
1. Academic support and enrichment programs directed at youth
2. Community outreach / Family empowerment
3. Healthy eating, healthy living
4. Safe and viable community
The organization is run by a volunteer board of directors, a part-time staff consisting of an office manager and a program manager, as well as other faithful volunteers and those recruited as needed for various projects. We operate out of our "Resource Center" located at 1708 Johnson Street. The facility provides space for activities not only for HJNTF, as other organizations, including the City of Saginaw also make use of the space. Our activities include after school and youth summer academic and enrichment programs, monthly community meetings and garden activities.
Over the years, HJNTF has continued its mission, tweaking our programs as time and conditions require. We give attention to many needs of the community; safety, beautification, health, and education. Representatives attend meetings and participate in the city-wide Neighborhood Association, as well as other community conscious organizations located in the city. We maintain the Resource Center, two community gardens, and other surrounding properties as part of our dedication to community health, safety and beauty.
While we do these things, we, however, invest much of our efforts to youth as we feel that they are the future on which we all will one day depend. We have committed to providing academic support to youth in our community, offering a four day a week after school enrichment program that lasts the entire school year. Our afterschool program features Lexia(r) (a computer reading program), Kahn Academy (focus on math) and intense work on completion of a science project. It also includes sewing instruction and other activities to enhance personal growth.
We continue our commitment to youth with a four-day, six-week summer academic and enrichment program. Up to 40 youth are provided activities designed to reduce academic losses typically experienced during the summer months.
Covid-19 has put a damper on programs operating inside the resource center. Most of our youth activities were suspended as we, like everyone else, had to adjust to the current situation. Our community gardens became a major focus this summer as they provided a needed outdoor activity. We provided raised beds for individuals wishing to select and grow their own produce. In addition, each agreed to help plant and maintain community beds, raising produce for all to share. We are currently working to make our building safe to accept limited indoor activities.