Rhawnhurst Turning Point

Center for Youth and Young Adults in NE Philly

History

The History of Rhawnhurst Turning Point:

Rhawnhurst Turning Point is a non-profit joint mission venture started between Rhawnhurst Presbyterian and Redemption Lutheran Churches, located in the Rhawnhurst neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia.

 

The idea for Rhawnhurst Turning Point began in May of 2007 when the leaders and congregations of both churches recognized the pressing needs of youth in Rhawnhurst, and felt compelled to do something to help young people in our neighborhood.  We began with a prayer group that met twice a month to pray about this vision and discern our way forward.   This prayer group continues to meet faithfully to pray for the mission and ministry of Turning Point.

 

As we continued to pray and plan, it became clear that we were called to create a location outside of our two churches where youth in grades six and up can come as they are, serve and be served, learn, grow, and have fun while knowing that they are supported and cared for by other youth and adults.

 

From its beginning, Rhawnhurst Turning Point was intended to be a center where many churches and community groups could come together to work for the good of the community.  We partner with many groups, including Front Step, Inc., Feast of Justice, NORC, The Rotary Club of Northeast Sunrisers, and more.  We continue to seek new partners and to involve as many people as are willing to share their gifts and talents with the young people in our neighborhood.

 

Since the prayer group first met in May of 2007, we have been hard at work to achieve this vision.  In 2008  we incorporated as a PA non-profit, we elected a Board of Directors and adopted by-laws, youth from our churches wrote and conducted a survey of over 50 Rhawnhurst youth, and we held a community leaders meeting to share our plans with local politicians, police, and community leaders.

 

In 2009, we received funding from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and were able to hire our first staff person, a part-time Director.  We were awarded a Covenant Fund Grant from the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 2009, 2010, and 2012, received a large gift from Calvary Lutheran Church (Bustleton neighborhood) in Fall of 2010, and have received a number of donations from private individuals to help fund Turning Point.  In Summer and Fall of 2010, we held volunteer training events, and in December 2010 we secured a temporary location in which to test our first program.

 

On January 4, 2011 the Rhawnhurst Turning Point Homework Help Center opened its doors in a test run, in our temporary location at 1702 Faunce St., Phila. PA 19111.   With limited hours, volunteers, and resources, we saw this as an opportunity to train our volunteers and test out a program with small steps.  In Summer 2011, we held four 1-day workshops, housed at Rhawnhurst Presbyterian Church, on the topics of Drawing, Drama, Crafts, and Community Service.

 

On October 25, 2011, Rhawnhurst Turning Point opened for the first time with full programing at our current location, 7812 Castor Ave, Phila., PA 19152.  In the course of our first year, we grew from an average of 15 to 45 visits a week by youth, to date have served over 175 unduplicated students, and were recognized as a Zone of Peace by the Religious Leaders of Philadelphia in November 2012.  We offer Homework Help, Drop-In Times, Arts and Music Classes, Service Saturdays, Book Clubs, Weekend Activities, Special Events and more.  In Spring 2013, we were proud to announce the addition of two part-time staff people: Andrew Smith, our Weekend Program Manager, and Dawn Friederich, our Hoffman Art Program Manager.  As we look to the future, we are excited at all that is going on at Turning Point and invite you to become a part of the fun, whether attending a program, volunteering your time, making a donation, spreading the word, or countless other ways!