The Hazleton Integration Project is a community-based effort that seeks to unite the people of many different cultures who call Hazleton home. The project is the brainchild of Hazleton native and Chicago Cubs Manager, Joe Maddon, who has been honored three times with Major League Baseball’s Manager of the Year.
The project’s main focus is to sustain a community center geared at economically disadvantaged youth and adults. The facility, known as the Hazleton One Community Center, continues to host many educational, athletic and cultural activities at little or no cost to participants while fostering trust and respect among all of the region’s ethnic cultures. Among the most noteworthy programs offered at the Center are the area’s only fully bilingual Pre-K program and our After School Scholars project with enrollment of 80+ students from Kindergarten to grade 8. Additionally the center features Spanish and English classes as well as cultural discussions, cooking lessons, dance and drama classes and a host of other programs.
Sports are able to link people of all ages and cultures, which is why sports programs are an important part of the Hazleton Integration Project. In addition to a community center, plans for the Hazleton Integration Project call for outdoor recreational facilities that will host activities throughout the year.
Maddon and HIP leaders believe that it is important for different cultural groups to spend time together to truly get to know each other while understanding and appreciating cultural similarities and differences.