The New York City Mission Society will be celebrating 50 years at the vibrant community center Minisink Townhouse this weekend, Aug. 8. The community-based nonprofit organization has helped youth and families overcome the difficulties of poverty in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
“We want to make sure the entire Mission Society and Minisink family is reunited,” Elsie McCabe Thompson, president of the NYC Mission Society, told the AmNews. “We want to reconnect to our alumni. Anybody who participated in a program, attended one of our summer camps or played in a pickup basketball game in our gym. We want to be a continuing service in our community.”
The NYC Mission Society focuses on education, cultural enrichment, job preparation and opportunities and restorative justice programs that serve to break the poverty cycle for some of New York City’s most underserved communities. Their efforts and programs at Minisink have had long-standing and positive impacts on generations of children and young adults.
“The 50th anniversary of our Central Harlem home—and more than 95 years in Harlem— represents our long-standing relationship with the community, and celebrates all of those whose lives have been made better by our comprehensive educational, cultural-enrichment and workforce-development programs and quality services,” said McCabe Thompson via Facebook. “This year is not only an opportunity to mark this occasion, but to showcase all of the new programs that will create more academic and career opportunities for future generations.”
Many of their programs include transforming youth attitudes and behaviors that lead to criminal activity, preventing child abuse and foster care placement, positioning older high school students for academic and career success, providing youth-employment programs and more.
In August of last year, Minisink became the primary administrative office for the NYC Mission Society. It moved from Park Avenue and 22nd Street—a location that McCabe Thompson said made sense 100 years ago—to its current location because the previous location no longer had a deep level of poverty. Minisink became the go-to place for people’s social service needs to be met.
“I wanted to make sure not only did we move to a location where we could better manage our various programs,” McCabe Thompson said, “but it is important that administrators see the face of need in a way you can’t understand through a picture or get from a distance, who we serve and why.”
The event is part of the 41st annual Harlem Week, which celebrates and promotes culture, art and traditions throughout the neighborhood. There will be food, live performances, carnival games, a basketball tournament and many more family friendly activities at the Minisink Townhouse at 142nd Street and Malcolm X Boulevard in Central Harlem.
“I’m one of those crazy people, but I really believe in what it is we are doing,” McCabe Thompson said.
According to the NYC Mission Society, Minisink is one of the jewels of Harlem and its rich history. Alumni of their programs have become incredibly successful. The city’s first Black school principal, first Black district superintendent, first Black deputy police commissioner and a current U.S. representative, Greg Meeks, all went through the programs.
Every year, the NYC Mission Society reaches thousands of people from Harlem to the Bronx to Brooklyn to the Lower East Side. They provide services to help individuals better their lives and futures. They have nearly 6,000 program participants, and more than 7,000 people attend the community events.