Serving the community since 1923…
In the early 1920’s, a forward-thinking rector of St. James Episcopal Church, the Rev. Charles Hardin McCurdy, decried the lack of opportunity for service offered to women, in Birmingham, Michigan. By 1923, his vision became reality when a small committee of people in the Birmingham area founded The Community House in a small frame structure on the corner of Bates and Maple. They planned it to be a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-exclusive community center where all would be welcome.
This small building became a hub of community activity, and by 1928 it was evident that a much larger facility would be required. Under the chairmanship of community leader, Ruth Shain, a group of 200 women launched a capital campaign and raised $125,000 from area individuals, civic and social groups and businesses. In April 1930, the new building on Bates Street opened with a celebration attended by more than 5,000 people, including Clara and Henry Ford.
The Community House has always stayed current by constantly examining and responding to the immediate needs in the community. The mission of The Community House is to help strengthen communities by providing educational, cultural and wellness programs, & scholarships, to improve people’s personal and professional lives.
Today, The Community House offers over 800 yearly class options including everything from cooking and art history classes to yoga and fencing. The Community House is home to the Early Childhood Center (child care and preschool); TCH Dance Academy; and the Sara Smith Youth Theatre. The public is welcome to join various Community House special interest sponsored groups including Friends of the Gardens, the International Community Club, the Newcomers Club, as well as the Senior Men’s and Women’s Clubs.
The Community House StoryTellers Guild makes hundreds of visits to twelve different schools throughout metro Detroit to share their love of storytelling. The StoryTellers have made a significant impact in promoting literacy in our community. The Guild received a Special Recognition Award on behalf of Pontiac Longfellow School's Grade “A” Achievement which was presented to them by the Pontiac School District.
Since 1987, The Community House’s Race Relations and Diversity Task Force has reached out to the greater community by presenting monthly open forums and programs to promote discussions of race and diversity related issues. The meetings are open to all and there is no charge for admission. Annual programs include the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and the Diversity Champion Honor Roll Breakfast. The Community House received New Detroit’s prestigious “Closing the Gap” award for its support of the Task Force as well as Corp! Magazine’s “Diversity Champion” Award.
The Community House is proud to offer Youth Development Programs for At-Risk Teens and Children in Need:
iCount™/KidsCount: The iCount by WalkStyles health and wellness program instills the benefits of daily exercise, healthy eating and positive body image. TCH delivers this transformational 10 week program through nonprofit agencies in the tri-county area. iCount culminates in an exciting Vibrancy Day event celebrating their success. iCounters are challenged to log 10K steps daily, use the iCount web platform to study the nutritional value of the food they eat, and learn important life skills of accountability, attaining team goals and discipline.
Experience the Arts: The Experience the Arts program consists of introducing youth to instrumental music, visual arts and dance through donation, performance, and instruction.
21st Century Leaders: The 21st Century Leaders program brings together forty 7th graders from area charter, public, and private schools for a bi monthly, 9 month school year focusing on topics related to becoming a leader. Students develop business acumen, etiquette skills, public speaking skills, team presentation skills, as well as relationships with other teens whom they normally would never meet. Leaders exit the program with a better sense of self-confidence of what it takes to be a true leader in their community.