Members of the Unity In Our Community events committee are seated from left: Niurka De La Rosa, Carmine Parlatore, Elaine Maddon Curry. Standing, Mann Shoffner, Hazleton Police Chief Frank V. DeAndrea, Adel Nunez, Eugenio Sosa and Bob Curry.
ELLEN F. O’CONNELL/Staff Photographer Published: August 12, 2014
Organizers announced that former heavyweight boxing champion Tim Witherspoon will be the featured guest at the first Unity in Our Community Day, to take place Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hazleton One Community Center.
Unity Day is a joint effort between Cargill Meat Solutions, Giant Food Stores, the city of Hazleton and the Hazleton One Community Center, and will feature a full slate of family activities and fun.
Witherspoon, a two-time heavyweight champion in the 1980s, will be promoting and registering children for HIP’s fledgling boxing program.
“Having Tim Witherspoon working directly with kids from our area is a huge plus, not only for the center, but for every kid who wants to learn the intricacies of the ‘sweet science,’” said Bob Curry, president of HIP.
Published: June 24, 2014
The Hazleton One Community Center released a full slate of summer programs for children of all ages that begins Monday and runs throughout the summer.
“So far we have 30 different classes and activities,” said Eugenio Sosa, executive director of the Community Center. “The overall focus will be in three areas: educational, cultural and athletic, just as we have stressed in our mission statement.”
Several programs focus on reading and literacy, the first titled “Read to Me Please” for 2- and 3-year-olds.
Other literacy programs, such as “Reading is FUN-damental” and “Fractured Fairy Tales,” serve children from kindergarten to sixth grade.
“Teen Reads” focus on exciting works of contemporary literature for junior high school students. Other educational programming includes “Conversional ESL for Teens,” “Scouting Days,” and “Math Games.”
Arts and culture classes begin with “Kids’ Arts & Crafts” for those 6 to 14, “Beginning Chess” for teens, “Guitar for Beginners” for those 8 to 14, “Introduction to Drawing,” for those 9 to 13 and “Dance.”
Athletic programming will include archery, a soccer camp beginning in early August for boys and girls, Tae Kwon Do, Army Fitness (in partnership with the U.S. Army), basketball camps, volleyball camps, cheerleading camps, and Quickball games.
Published: May 17, 2014
Bob Curry, center, president of the Hazleton Integration Project, holds the Pennsylvania State Education Association's Award for Human and Civil Rights that the organization received Thursday in Philadelphia. At left is Michael J. Crossey, PSEA president; at right is Elaine Maddon Curry, program director, Hazleton One Community Center.
The Hazleton Integration Project (HIP) received the Pennsylvania State Education Association's (PSEA) Award for Human and Civil Rights during the PSEA's Celebrating Excellence banquet held Thursday in Philadelphia.
The statewide award recognizes the organization that has done the most for human and civil rights.
Bob Curry, president of the HIP board, said the organization was both "humbled" and "delighted" by the award.
"I believe every single person in Hazleton should take pride in this award as it is possible only through the outpouring of support, both financial and through volunteerism, we have received from our community," he said.
Curry accepted the award on behalf of the group after a videotaped message from HIP supporter/founder Joe Maddon was played. Maddon is a Hazleton native and manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
"Let me say up front as clearly as possible that without Joe Maddon and his wife, Jaye, we would not be standing here tonight. Because without them there would simply not be a HIP, or a Hazleton One Community Center," Curry said.
According to information from PSEA, the annual award recognizes those who have expanded educational opportunities for minority or disabled students; advanced the cause of human and civil rights within the schools or the community, or promoted health and safety within the schools and the community.
"No one who begins the process of teaching or working with children does so to collect awards," Curry told those at the banquet. "Like you, we are dedicated to our work because it is so critically important to our children's future. But this is different. This award means everything to our organization because it forms a signpost that tells us that we are going in the right direction."
BY KELLY MONITZ STANDARD SPEAKER (STAFF WRITER)
Published: May 19, 2014
Priests, a judge, softball teams, area companies and organizations, elected officials and local residents all came together for Hazleton's first Unity Walk Sunday afternoon, which began and ended at the Hazleton One Community Center on Fourth Street.
Some carried signs showing their unity as they walked the 1.1-mile course along city sidewalks. The staggered line of walkers stretched for blocks with safety patrols stopping them at intersections to allow traffic to continue to move.
Bob Curry, board president of the Hazleton Integration Project which organized the walk, estimated upwards of 500 people came out to walk and nearly 50 people volunteered to help.
"We're actually thrilled at this point with the interest we've generated in the community," he said, as people registered, bought walk T-shirts and mingled on the sidewalk. "We're thinking this might be the single best symbol of the community - it is truly coming together.
"We're embracing our diversity and moving ahead as one people," Curry said.
Victor Guerrero, who hails from the Dominican Republic and works at Amazon in the Humboldt Industrial Park, said he supports the effort to Hispanic and American residents together in the community.
"We're trying be better neighbors and trying to be friends with one another," he said.
Guerrero expected a bunch of his co-workers, who formed a self-sponsored, traveling softball team, La Liguita, to participate as well. About 10 minutes later, he stood with his teammates - all wearing their softball jerseys.
Another Amazon employee, Joseph Kochenderfer of Hazleton, stood outside the community center with his wife, Deborah, waiting for the start of the walk. Both support the idea behind the Unity Walk and the community center.
"This community needs to come together," Joseph Kochenderfer said.
Drugs have given the city a bad reputation, Deborah Kochenderfer said, and she's glad the community can come together and support the community center, which gives young people a place to go and something to do.
BY JILL WHALEN STANDARD SPEAKER (STAFF WRITER)
Published: May 7, 2014
Elaine Maddon Curry has been keeping tabs on an after-school learning program at the Hazleton One Community Center for months.
Youths - most of them English language learners - visit the center weekdays to complete homework and study with volunteer teachers, said Maddon Curry, a volunteer with the Hazleton Integration Project, the organization that oversees center activities.
The homework help program has been going well even though students - like many of their peers - have to be reminded to do their school work, she said.
But a new partnership between HIP and Penn State University's main campus has changed that. Using computers outfitted with Skype video conferencing software, students at the Hazleton center connect with education majors at University Park.
It's made students want to learn, Maddon Curry said.
"I'm thrilled with the results I have seen," she said of the virtual tutoring program. "Just seeing their excitement. You run an after-school program, and you keep saying, 'Do your homework. Do your homework.' But I didn't have to say, 'Go Skype.'"
The pilot program began earlier this year after Penn State researchers, students and administrators met with HIP board members and volunteer teachers, said Bob Curry, president of the HIP board. Through discussions, the Penn State contingent learned that many elementary and middle school students enrolled in the after-school program were in need of additional academic and linguistic support.
"We had spoken on the phone previously," said Dr. Megan Hopkins, assistant professor of World Language Education at Penn State, "and I had suggested a number of things we could try to do. One was this tutoring program."