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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Community Center- A Place for Public Meetings and Celebrations

 The community center is a public place where the local citizens can gather and community groups can hold functions or events for certain important purposes such as – for certain group activities, social cause, share information, and other purposes. This kind of activity helps in uniting the entire community or town. That kind of center can be sometimes open for the whole community or for a particular group within the greater community. For example- community centers in a particular group such as- Islamic community centers, Christian community centers, youth clubs and many more.

Uses and activities

Community centers are generally used for performing many different kinds of functions. Some of them are mentioned below:

         Celebrations of various kinds of occasions and traditions.

         Public meetings are held for the citizens on various issues.

         Election campaigns are held by the politicians or other official leaders to encourage and request public to vote them on the time of election day.

         It is used for social gathering where every member of the community meets each other.

         That place is used for local clubs and volunteer activities.

         Community center can be rented for a private family function party, such as a wedding or birthday party.

         Those centers are used for organizing local non-government activities.

Organization and ownership of community center

 Basically, there are 4 common ways in which community centers are owned and organized in most parts of the world.

         Community owned: This kind of community center is directly owned and operated by the local community of the area by forming an organization separate from the government bodies. Though most of the time local governments are aware of that and sometimes they even funds them.

         Government owned: This kind of center is owned by the government. It is used for governmental purpose, although sometimes, it can also be used for non-government community activities on several occasions.

         Sponsored: It is owned by a rich individual, families or corporate houses for the purpose of donating to the community for use as a charity.

         Commercial: This type of center is owned by the private entity or government organization or a community and is used purely for commercial purpose by renting its facilities to various groups.

Schools as community centers

 In the United States of America, the earliest forms of community centers were based in education institutions like schools that provides facilities to inner city communities after school hours. An early example of this kind was found in Rochester, New York from the year 1907. A Presbyterian minister, named Edward J. Ward, joined the Extension Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and organized the Wisconsin Bureau of Civic and Social Development. After that, by the year 1911, they organized a conference in different parts of the country in schools as social centers. They were successful in meeting their objective, despite concerns expressed by the political groups and public officials.

 With the foundation of the National Community Center Association in 1916, the term Community Center was generally used in the United States of America. It is noted that, by the year 1918, 107 cities in the United States have community centers and by 1924, there were community centers in 240 cities. And by the year 1930, the number of community centers in the United States of America was 500.

 In the United Kingdom, there are many villages as well as towns that have their own Community Center, though many nearby schools sometimes offers their assembly or dining hall after classes get over for Community Center activities. For instance, local schools located near Ouston are provided for a local community center activity purposes such as hosting dances, or other sporting activities.

Parks as community centers

 Parks were also considered as community centers for serving many important events and functions. Mary Parker Follett was another pioneer in the field of community centers. She saw community centers as playing a major role in her concept of development of the community. Those places where were used by the individuals by organizing themselves into neighborhood groups to attend people's needs, desires and aspirations.

 The oldest community center in the United Kingdom is possibly that was established in 1901 in Thringstone, Leicestershire. That center was run by the old age pensions pioneer, Charles Booth (1847-1916). The center was extended in 1911 and in 1950, it is taken over by the Leicestershire County Council. However, today still this center thrives as an educational, social and a recreational community resource that act as an inspiration for several others of its kind.

 There are also many community centers that have been established and used for a particular purpose, but helps in serving the whole community. For example- arts center.

 There also exist online community centers. These types of centers are web base interactive platforms. The user creates a community type of websites and urge people to join the groups or community. Once the people registered the website, they become members. In this kind of platform, members can easily interact online with each other.

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