Riverdale Community Center, Inc.
The Riverdale Community Center, Inc. (RCC) is a non-profit, grassroots, multi-service agency founded in 1972 by the Parents' Association and principal of the then Junior High School 141.
The RCC’s original focus was to address pre-teen and teen violence, drug abuse, pregnancy and school failure at a time when increasing numbers of women had joined the workforce full time and the structure of the family was undergoing great changes. The solution was to open an after-school center where youth could gather in a safe, nurturing environment. A handful of parents, primarily Feme LaDue, Arthur Sundel, Roselle Siegel, and Elaine Stone, worked together along with the new principal, Mr. Norman Kaufman, to begin the process of opening a small after-school program to assist with homework and provide recreational activities. The big question was “how to pay for it?” The idea of evening classes for adults at manageable fees was suggested as a way to make money to pay for the free youth programs. The adult classes were decided upon, a brochure printed, and we were on our way. The response was overwhelming. In the next few years, over 1,000 people had enrolled in the Adult and Youth Center (AYEC) and our after school program became a reality. More parents, Bert and Carole Feinberg, joined the plight and a Board of Directors was formed. Early support came from our elected officials, the Youth Bureaus in the City and the State, private grants, Community Board 8 and the United Way of New York City.
In April 1977, the Riverdale Community Center, Inc. became incorporated and the mission of the Center was – “To provide within the community cultural, recreational, and developmental activities and entertainment, instruction, athletics, sport and other wholesome activities for children of all ages as well as for adults, under adequate supervision and guidance in order to aid and maintain the physical and mental health of the people in the Community, as a basis and preventative means of combating delinquency and as a means of bringing people together under proper supervision in appropriate surroundings”. RCC has become one of the largest and most successful after school center in the City - serving the neighborhoods on Community Board 8, Bronx – Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, Marble Hill, Spuyten Duyvil, and Riverdale.
RCC remains committed to our founding mission and now provide free “Youth Programs” for young people ages 11-19 and a self-sustaining “Adult and Youth Education Program” for children, teens, adults and seniors. Each year over 1,000 people of all ages participate in one or more of our programs. The free youth programs serve over 500 teens each year. Over 500 seniors, adults, teens, and children participate in one of over 120 courses offered in two ten-week sessions each year. RCC is a 21st Century Community Learning Center and a registered School- Age Child Care Provider.
Our After School Programs
The RCC free After School Program now operates five days a week for 3 hours each day. This comprehensive program focuses on the whole child and assists young people in developing a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and empowerment. Youth who are involved in our Center learn to use their time constructively, build their self esteem, develop self control, achieve academic success, accept responsibilities, and form positive relationships – peer to peer and youth to adult. Activities are broken down into several categories: Academic Support and Enhancements, Cultural and Arts Enrichment, Community Service/Service Learning, Youth Development, and Recreation and Fitness.
In recent years, we expanded the offerings in our comprehensive after-school programs; increased our academic centers to include PM School for High School students and revamped our academic centers in ELA and Math for middle school students. Our Holiday Program, which opens 13 school holidays, includes many cultural andrecreational field trips to museums and sport centers (Cloisters, Planetarium, Wave Hill, Ice Skating, and Bowling). The holiday program also included activities in academic enrichment; the arts (music, art, dance, and drama); youth leadership; conflict resolution training; and sports/recreation. Last year, RCC was able to pilot a free four-week Summer Program for middle school students filled with many fun and educational activities as well as several field trips.
Our Adult and Youth Education Center
In addition, the Center runs a self-sustaining Adult and Youth Education Center (AYEC) which offers over 50 classes in two ten-week sessions per year. Children, teens, adults and seniors come to take classes in fiction writing, art, dance, music, computers, exercise, leisure activities and languages. Skills classes are provided for Specialized High School Admissions Preparation, Defensive Driving, and S.A.T. Preparation as well as remedial and test prep classes for children in grades 2 through 8. Over 500 people of all ages participated in one or more activities at our Adult and Youth Education Center.
We are many community partnerships with several organizations such as Riverdale Mental Health, Riverdale Neighborhood House, Just Dance Inc.; Careers Advance Consulting. RCC prides itself on the long-term relationship we have enjoyed with RKA. As we mark our 42nd anniversary, we celebrate the students, administrators and parents and look forward to a continuing relationship. We will constantly strive to re-evaluate our community’s needs and plan improved programs for the future.