Monday, August 8, 2011

Golden Gate Community Center celebrates 75 years of providing services to children and families

Golden Gate Community Center is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its founding in 1936. Local community members joined Golden Gate staff and supporters on Saturday, August 6 at the agency’s semi-annual health fair to honor those who have contributed to our success over the past 75 years and a commemorative plaque was presented to mark the occasion.

With a mission ‘to provide programs and services that improve the quality of life for children and families in west central Phoenix neighborhoods’, Golden Gate has always been a beacon of hope to those surrounded by poverty, gangs and much crime. Golden Gate has a tradition of working with the community and provides an excellent example of how to build and sustain community.

Golden Gate Community Center was founded in 1936 by the Episcopal Church as the East Madison Street Settlement. Incorporated in 1952 as a settlement house, Golden Gate was a true community center offering a well-baby clinic, sports activities, a home training course, and a kindergarten.

Displaced by the construction of Sky Harbor Airport in 1986, many residents of the old neighborhood were dispersed, but a significant number came with Golden Gate to rebuild their community near its new and current location at McDowell Road and 39th Ave. Sadly, most tight-knit communities, once disrupted, fail to hold together. The fact that Golden Gate has been able to do that and continues to prosper so many years later is a testament to its importance to the community.

In 2004, a merger with Arizona’s Children Association allowed Golden Gate to develop significant partnerships with organizations across the city and county, to bring unique and innovative programs to the center. In 2005, Congressman Ed Pastor, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Councilman Tom Simplot hosted a Tardeada celebration of Golden Gate’s service to the community and Governor Janet Napolitano proclaimed October 23, 2005: “Golden Gate Community Center Day.”

Golden Gate currently serves over 10,000 children, youth, adults, and seniors annually through a wide variety of minimal or no-fee programs and services for tots to seniors for the surrounding largely Hispanic neighborhoods. "We work with our community residents, of all ages, to determine the kinds of programs that are needed for our neighbors and then we go to work to make them happen," said Phyllis Habib, director of Golden Gate Community Center, “Golden Gate is a part of Phoenix’s legacy and a significant part of the state’s history.”

A brief outline of Golden Gate’s history including photos throughout the agency’s history can be found at

For more information about the programs and services at Golden Gate Community Center, visit or call 602.233.0017.

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