Westhab has been working in Nodine Hill for more than a decade, providing affordable housing and youth programming. However, we have had a dream to provide a greater variety of services to this community. That opportunity started to take shape when Westhab acquired an old church in the Yonkers neighborhood at the end of 2015. Today, the transformation of the church into the state-of-the-art Dayspring Community Center is well underway.
Nodine Hill, a vibrant and diverse neighborhood located less than a mile from downtown Yonkers, is a community where 25% of all households live below the federal poverty line—and for families with children, this increases to nearly 40%. There is a large immigrant population in Nodine Hill, where 70% of residents are Latino, most coming from Mexico and Central America.
As we planned to expand the services we provide in Nodine Hill, we started an open and honest dialogue with the community. It was soon clear that Westhab did not have experience meeting the unique needs of this largely immigrant population. Fortunately, we knew an organization that did: Neighbors’ Link, a Mt. Kisco-based non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen the whole community through the healthy integration of immigrants.
After many talks, meetings, site visits, and excitement, the decision was made for Westhab and Neighbors’ Link to join forces at Dayspring Community Center. This partnership requires a long-term commitment and a process that will allow both agencies to regularly evaluate the efficacy of the collaboration. Each partner provides services they excel at. Careful consideration is given to creating programs that don’t only offer a single service, but provide additional support on a continuum.
An example of this commitment is the Parent-Child Together program, where parents with children from birth to age four learn positive parenting skills, early childhood development, and school readiness. Staff in this program get to know the families and work with them to identify their needs, review the services offered at Dayspring, and make immediate referrals to other services the family can benefit from. Along the way, other partner agencies, volunteers, and donors are all playing an integral part in making the dream come to life.
This collaboration is a great for all involved, most importantly for the Nodine Hill community!