Neighborhood House in west St. Paul, Minn. has come a long way since Russian immigrants in the area built a simple wooden structure in 1897. First opened to give newcomers the support and information they needed to make their way in this country, Neighborhood House now has a bigger and fancier home and the immigrants it serves come from different countries than they did 117 years ago. But the nonprofit’s mission remains the same.
Neighborhood House supports immigrants of every kind — from struggling newcomers who rely on its food pantry, family crisis center and refugee resettlement services, to people striving to become educated and advance their careers. It also offers a free preschool for the children of immigrants and an after-school program for teens that teaches them about health, education and careers and encourages them to engage in community service. But that’s not all. The center also provides health programs, gang-prevention activities, English language classes and GED prep courses.
Over the years, people from about 40 countries have benefitted from Neighborhood House’s services.
Nancy Brady, president of Neighborhood House, tells Angela Davis of CBS Minnesota, “Our mission at Neighborhood House is to help people gain the knowledge, the skills and the confidence that they need to overcome whatever the challenges are that they’re facing in their life — and move forward.”
The nonprofit’s three-year-old college access program is already changing lives — providing scholarships to adults of all ages who want to attend college. “Year one, nine people went to college,” Brady says. “Last year, 61 of our participants went to college. That’s how we measure success.”
Neighborhood House is funded through donations from its community, and for more than 100 years, residents in St. Paul have considered it a worthy investment. “We want to help people dream,” Brady says, “and then work to make their dreams come true, and to help all people see a positive future.”