The Neighborhood House Association was first established in 1914 as a settlement house that assisted immigrants transitioning into the San Diego community. Today, the agency provides comprehensive wraparound services to San Diegans of all ages and backgrounds. Here, we learn how the Neighborhood House Association has supported San Diegans for the past century and how the community keeps them inspired and thriving.
How is the Neighborhood House Association impacting the community?
Like many businesses and organizations, the Neighborhood House Association (NHA) has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to reimagine the way that we deliver some of our services, but we remain committed to serving the children and families who rely on us. In the wake of the pandemic, we set up seven meal distribution sites to continue to provide healthy meals to children and seniors. We have served over 600,000 meals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our mental health programs continued to provide vital in-person services and introduced tele-health services to reach vulnerable populations.
All of our social services programs have continued to provide services to clients during the pandemic. Our Head Start program distributed over 2,000 tablets to children and families while centers were closed. To date, 29 of our 30 Head Start sites have reopened for in-person learning. Throughout our history, we have done whatever is necessary to meet the needs of those in our care. We are proud of the work we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and remain ready and willing to serve the San Diego community.
The health and welfare of our employees is important to us at NHA. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency was able to maintain over 96% of its payroll, offering telework opportunities when possible, allowing most of our employees to continue to provide for themselves and their families. Employees and their families have access to virtual workout classes and wellness webinars. Additionally, we hosted two vaccination events for employees and their families. It is impossible to pour from an empty cup, and at NHA, pouring into the team members who pour into the communities we serve is crucial for us.
What else do you want the community to know about the Neighborhood House Association?
The Neighborhood House Association is one of the largest nonprofit social services agencies in San Diego County. We offer 28 programs that range from early childhood and youth development, to mental health services, to senior services and more. These programs work together to form our Continuum of Care Model, a service-delivery model that begins pre-birth and continues all the way to senior care. This model includes wraparound services for the entire family.
The goal of the Continuum of Care Model is to create opportunity and economic mobility for the thousands we serve each year. Our hope is that the children we serve in the Black Infant Health and Head Start programs will come back to serve the San Diego community as team members. With a network of services that support individuals at every stage of life, the Continuum of Care Model is inspiring the current and next generation of community members and leaders to give back to the San Diego community.
Can you tell me more about the programs you offer?
In addition to nutrition, early childhood development, mental health and senior services, NHA operates programs that are specifically targeted at providing opportunity and economic mobility for youth of color. The NHA College Academy, a partnership with Reality Changers, helps first generation college students realize their dreams of attending college. The program helps students with every step of the college application process to ensure that students are accepted and prepared to enter college and obtain degrees that give them access to the career of their choice.
Our Youth Fellowship Employment Program gives high school and college students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience as interns in various departments throughout our agency. This program helps students explore different careers and gain experience that will aid them in the career of their choice. The program also features professional development workshops that teach participants skills like resume writing, financial literacy, public speaking and more. These paid internships also allow students to earn an income for their work. Additionally, NHA president and CEO Rudy Johnson has launched the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Initiative, recruiting efforts that allow him to visit HBCUs and recruit students of color to come to NHA and serve the San Diego community. These programs, like all of the programs under the NHA umbrella, help us realize our vision of “healthy and educated communities, where dreams become reality.”
Why is workforce development important to your organization’s mission?
Our mission at NHA is “to enrich lives through a continuum of education and wellness services.”
Workforce development is important to the work that we do at NHA because we know that employment and the opportunity to earn a livable wage is essential of many we serve. Programs like the NHA College Academy and Youth Fellowship Employment Program give students the necessary foundation to build their dreams and their futures, provide for themselves and their families, and contribute to their communities. Workforce development is an important part of accomplishing our mission and our programs sow the seeds that allow the individuals and families we serve to thrive.