The mission of the Center is to improve the lives of youth and families living in the Crotona section of the Bronx through programs that expand opportunities, develop leadership, and build community.
The Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center opened in 1997 to serve the Crotona community of The Bronx. Programs at the Center are born out of a thirty-year struggle to improve this neighborhood. The Center and its programs bare out the idea that committed individuals providing needed services to have the power to transform individuals and communities.
Ms. Mitchell died in 1983 but her dream was championed by the neighbors she inspired. After a fifteen-year campaign, in 1997, the Mary Mitchell Center opened! The Center has developed after school youth programs, created The Food Justice Club and supports the effort of over 25 small, volunteer-run groups. Members of the Mary Mitchell Center Board have fought for thirty years to have vacant lots turned into ball fields and community gardens and to see local parks restored for soccer, tennis and football. Now, the Center provides many opportunities for youth and families during 2020 among the pandemic.
In the late 1970’s Crotona, located in the South Bronx, was burning due to arson and property abandonment. Homes and buildings were reduced to rubble and the neighborhood had hundreds of vacant lots. While many people fled the devastation, some people insisted that they would not move, but improve their community. Mary Mitchell opened her home for families in need and engaged youth in sports and play activities on the street. She opened one of New York City’s first Play Streets and had the vision to create a community center for youth and family activities.