By Jennifer Sadler


The Settlement House movement began in early 19th century England in response to rising unemployment and widespread poverty. The early settlement houses offered food, shelter and education through the help of volunteers, scholars and religious leaders who settled within the neighborhoods they served. These welfare workers developed the concept of social work as it is known today. The concept of Settlement Houses spread to America via pioneers such as Stanton Coit and Jane Addams. Coit founded the first U.S. settlement, Neighborhood Guild, in 1886 to serve new immigrant populations on the lower east side of New York City. Addams followed by founding Hull House, perhaps the most well-known of all Settlement Houses, on the west side of Chicago in 1889. Both houses employed the traditional settlement philosophy—a holistic approach to neighborhood improvement and a belief that social change comes through indigenous leaders and organizations. In this way, settlements differed from other social service agencies of their time and played a key role in addressing the issues facing local neighborhoods.

For more than 100 years, settlement houses across the U.S. have provided a welcoming place where community members have the opportunity to participate in services and activities that improve their lives including education, housing, health care, employment opportunities, recreation and the arts. By 1910, settlement houses had become permanent fixtures on the American urban landscape, with 400 of them stretching across the country, taking a leading role in social reform and child welfare.

One of the revolutionary characteristics of the Settlement House movement was that many of the most important leadership roles were filled by women, in an era when women were mostly excluded from leadership roles in business and government. Approximately half of the major U.S. settlement houses were led and staffed predominantly by women.

The Settlement House movement in the United States was popularized by the historic work of Jane Addams. Addams was a noted leader of the women’s suffrage movement and the first female recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Addams’ work led to reforms with long-lasting effect and many programs that exist today.

Since World War II, the number of settlements has fluctuated. According to the United Neighborhood Centers Association (UNCA), it is estimated that there are more than 900 settlement houses across the U.S. today. Formerly known as the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, the UNCA was founded in 1911 by Addams and other pioneers of the settlement movement.

There is also an International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, which was organized in 1926 and now has a membership of more than 4500 settlement houses and neighborhood centers around the world.

While many of the original services continue today, the structure of the settlement has changed.  Social workers are no longer in residence at the houses, which now operate with paid staff and larger budgets.

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GCAC's Artists-in-Schools: Artist Preview Night, September 14

Artist Preview Night gives central Ohio educators, school administrators, parent-teacher association members and all advocates of arts education an opportunity to meet with and experience the artists who take part in GCAC's Artists-in-Schools program.

The 2011 Artist Preview Night will be held on Wednesday, September 14 from 4-7:00 p.m. at the Arts IMPACT Middle School (AIMS) 680 Jack Gibbs Blvd (map). The event is free and will showcase the talents of the artists participating in the Artists-in-Schools program.

Artists-in-Schools links professional artists and arts groups not only with K-12 schools, but also parks and recreation centers, senior facilities, correctional facilities, hospitals, libraries, other community centers, as well as private sector businesses, organizations and individuals. Artist services may include performances, lectures, workshops, master classes, readings and multi-disciplinary experiences. Artist Preview Night will feature performances and presentations from storytellers, painters, dancers, musicians, actors and other artists.

Artists-in-Schools is one of GCAC's longest running programs and has served hundreds of thousands of people of all ages over the last 30 years.  The Artists-in-Schools experience is intended to complement, rather than replace, existing arts education programs.

GCAC's Artists-in-Schools rosters features more than 90 artists who specialize in a broad range of disciplines from creative writing and storytelling to dance, music and the visual arts.

GCAC recently recruited two new additions to the Arists-in-Schools roster:  visual artist Helma Groot and songwriter/musician Hal Walker.

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Columbus Historical Society, Hope Hollow Present Town & Country Soirée

On August 27 the Columbus Historical Society will hold its annual fundraiser and auction. This year’s event, the Town & Country Soirée, will feature an evening in the country at Hope Hollow. Hope Hollow’s purpose is to offer a place of lodging, respite and support to cancer patients and their family members at no cost.The fundraiser will help shed light on the need for a community support system for cancer patients and their families in a time of great need.

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Columbus Children’s Theatre Presents Godspell Junior

Godspell Junior, the musical by two-time Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz, draws from various theatrical traditions such as clowning, pantomime, charades, acrobatics and vaudeville. Godspell Junior is a groundbreaking and unique reflection on the life of Jesus with a message of kindness, tolerance and love. The show boasts a string of well-loved songs, featuring the international hit Day by Day.

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Columbus Recreation & Parks Dept Presents Savor the Splendor of Scioto Mile

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department invites the public to savor the summer splendor of the Scioto Mile, Columbus’ signature riverfront park, during the month of August. All senses will be delighted by the activities in Bicentennial Park and along the Mile. Listen as music fills the air, watch two film favorites, feel the jets and fog in the interactive fountain, smell the roses along the Promenade and taste the delicious food from the park restaurant Milestone 229.

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