The Kingsbridge Heights Community Center was founded in 1974 by a group of passionate community organizers gathered around three neighborhood women: Mary McLoughlin, Patricia Burns, and Janet Athanasidy. Upon hearing in 1972 that the 50th Precinct was moving out of its turn-of-the-century building on Kingsbridge Terrace, the three jumped at the opportunity to realize their vision for a community center.
The group began a writing campaign to convince City Hall to give the building to the community, and they would not be deterred. Through the support of then Assemblyman Oliver Koppel, Borough President Robert Abrams, and other community leaders, the building was finally secured on December 27th, 1974. The facility needed considerable renovations. Countless hours and days were spent by washing floors and cleaning debris after the facility was vandalized. The center finally opened its doors during the spring of 1975 with a Teen Program and a Head Start Program and a budget of $500,000 to continue renovating the facility. While work proceeded, new programs were sometimes offered in neighborhood parks, churches, and other locations. As the revitalized precinct building came together, the vision for the organization expanded: it would be modeled after the great New York settlement houses, providing educational and cultural activities for all community residents. A professional staff was hired and expanded as resources became available.
In 1985, Charles Shayne became our Executive Director. Over the next quarter-century he built the Center into one of the leading service agencies in the Bronx, adding new programs, new buildings, and new supporters, as well as founding and coordinating the Bronx Cluster of Settlement Houses with eight other agencies. He also came to be known and loved by generations of residents and staff simply as "Charlie. Upon his retirement in 2010, Giselle Melendez-Susca became the new Executive Director at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. Ms. Melendez-Susca has also been part of our team for 25 years, working alongside Mr. Shayne to build the organization's programs and infrastructure.
Today, KHCC offers programs and services for all ages and is an active member of United Neighborhood Houses of New York City and United Neighborhood Centers of America. From the adaptive reuse of our historic building to our responsive programs, the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center represents a crucial piece of the fabric of New York City. Under the leadership of Ms. Melendez-Susca, we are poised to help our neighbors in the Bronx meet the challenges of the coming decade. – less–ZoomInfo