About Nepperhan Community Center
Nepperhan Community Center was founded by a group of concerned neighbors in the Nepperhan section of Yonkers (now Runyon Heights) in the late 1930’s. This group wanted a meeting place that could also accommodate recreational activities and classes for the youth. They identified a community room at 13 Monroe Street as the original location for these activities. Some of the early directors included Rosa Kittrell, and Doris Moore as acting Director, until Juanita Temple was officially named director.
Nepperhan Community Center also became home to a Drum and Bugle Corp during those years led by George Perenchief. When that space became unavailable, an office only was maintained for a short time at 57 Tuckahoe Road. From those humble beginnings in 1942, Nepperhan Community Center Inc. became officially incorporated and, with the help of United Way, purchased a building at 117 Palisades Avenue. The activities offered at this location began to expand to include cooking, basketball, sewing, and also occasional social dances. Scholarships were offered to deserving students for upstate campsites. Through the years, the programs and services offered by the Center increased by more than twenty-fold. Even though the demand for services was increasing, the Center was still functioning on a part-time basis. Eventually, the City of Yonkers condemned the building
and the Center was forced to move into Community Baptist Church.
In the late 1960’s, the Agency moved to 302 Warburton Avenue where it undertook new programming along with Yonkers YCAP, in the field of education, tutoring, remedial reading and math. It stared its first parental involvement program (i.e., children’s formal education).
The Center initiated a Black studies and Cultural Enrichment program, which for the first time enabled many youth in our community the experience of going to black theaters, plays and seeing ballets. Today we still carry on that tradition, in addition to presenting our own theatrical productions.
Thus, the Center has grown from part-time Social Agency, serving few people yearly to direct services, referral services and supportive services. This has enabled the Agency to service thousands of individuals. As a result of the growth, help is needed in terms of financial support and volunteer services. The Center is located in a Yonkers area characterized by many of the problems confronting most contemporary urban communities, such as low educational standards, drug abuse, unemployment, crime and apathy. Due to the widespread occurrence of these common urban ills, the Center does not limit its program to residents the immediate neighborhoods. On the contrary, all segments of Nepperhan Community Center programs are administered on a city-wide “first-come-first-served” need basis. Racial, ethnic, or geographical backgrounds play no part in the dissemination of the Nepperhan Community Center services.