Photo by Justin Criado

Hundreds of community members and volunteers enjoyed the 20th anniversary dinner at Brightwood’s Providence Family Support Center Thursday, April 16. 

By Justin Criado

The Providence Family Support Center, which is part of Providence Connections, has become a staple within the Northside community through its first 20 years of service, and the Brightwood non-profit held a 20th anniversary celebration Thursday, April 16 in recognition of its progress through the years.

“I’ve seen it really grow. It’s really heartwarming to see that our presence in this neighborhood has made a significant impact,” site director Tishe Donze said. “When the (Sisters of Divine Providence) purchased the property the idea was we want people to know we’re here. We’re not going anywhere.”

Established in 1994 by the Sisters of Divine Providence, the non-profit organization, which is part of Providence Connections, Inc., aims to strengthen families and enrich lives by offering childcare services, before and after school care, family support, parent and adult education, in-home visitation, and family counseling.

Sister Carolyne Winschel, executive director, explained that the center also hosts holiday meals and special events that focus on bringing other parents together, while their children are participating in a separate program at the center.

“It’s the idea that they’re together is the main thing,” Winschel said.

Hundreds of community members and volunteers enjoyed the anniversary dinner, and pictures of the center’s humble beginnings and recent renovations, including the 2001 acquisition of the former St. Leo’s Church, proved just how much has changed in two decades.

“I think that has made a significant difference because people know we’re here,” Donze said of the renovations. “We’re one of the cornerstones in the neighborhood.”

The center recently received a three-out-of-four-star rating from Keystone STARS, which is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) that rates childcare services throughout the state. The center had previously been rated at two stars.

“I think our reputation is spreading,” Winschel said.

Winschel said that 45 families participate across the center’s programs, including some from surrounding areas; a sign that the organization’s presence is not going unnoticed or unappreciated.

For more information about the center and its programs visit the official website.

DSC_9599Photo by Justin Criado

Sister Carolyne Winschel (left), executive director, and site director Tishe Donze at the Providence Family Support Center’s 20th anniversary dinner Thursday, April 16 in Brightwood.