The Hudson Guild is a community-based social services organization rooted in and primarily focused on the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was founded in 1897 by Dr. John Lovejoy Elliott as a settlement house, with the intention of helping to alleviate the problems of the immigrant community of Chelsea's industrial area. The Guild continues to provide a variety of programs and services, including after-school care, professional counselling and community arts programs to the neighborhood.
In 1895, John Lovejoy Elliott, a young man greatly influenced by the growing settlement house and Ethical Culture movements, planted the seed for what became the Hudson Guild, organizing the "Hurly Burlies," a social and recreation club for young men in the Chelsea neighborhood. In the next few years, Elliott established numerous clubs and programs for other groups, including young boys and girls, working women, and families. Elliott's disparate programs merged in 1897 to become the Hudson Guild, which provided a platform to organize residents to improve neighborhood living conditions.
Among the Guild's early advocacy successes were lobbying for the New York State Tenement House Act in 1901, the creation of Chelsea Park, the first recreational space in the area in 1907, and the approval of new, low-cost, city-funded housing in Chelsea in 1938. At the same time, the Guild offered a broad range of direct programming and services to Chelsea residents, opening the first free kindergarten in New York City in 1897, starting the first Summer Play School in the city in 1917, opening dental, prenatal, and well-baby clinics in 1919-1921, founding the Elliott Neighbors Club for Senior Citizens in 1947, opening one of the city’s first community mental health clinics in 1948, and the first offerings of English-as-a-Second-Language classes in 1950.
In 1966 the Guild advocated for anti-poverty programs, including Neighborhood Youth Corps, VISTA and Head Start, and worked with other settlement houses and the city to merge Head Start and daycare in 1993. It founded the Chelsea Community-Supported Agriculture co-op in 2000 and in 2005 successfully advocated for affordable housing inclusion in West Chelsea redevelopment plans.
In 2007, the Hudson Guild was among over 530 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Each year, Hudson Guild provides a service for over 14,000 people. Because of its roots in the settlement house tradition, Hudson Guild takes an integrated, holistic approach to service provision and community building. Hudson Guild has five main program areas: Children and Youth Services, Adult Services, Arts Program, Community Building, and Mental Health. None of these program areas exist separately; they work together to provide participants with creative programming engaging bodies and minds, connecting participants to each other and the Chelsea community.
Hudson Guild’s Children and Youth Services targets at-risk youth living in Chelsea and surrounding neighborhoods. Through participation in the Guild’s programming, children and teens receive academic assistance, learn to make good decisions, and gain exposure to the arts. Hudson Guild works with other organizations and initiatives, such as non-profit Slideluck Potshow's Slideluck Youth Initiative (SLYI), to help bolster this programming. Hudson Guild’s Adult Services helps older adults live in independence and dignity as contributing members of the community with program activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional fitness. The Guild’s Arts Program operates a theatre and two galleries, helping make Chelsea a vibrant and cohesive community, where diversity and self-expression flourish among all age groups. Through its Community Building Program, Hudson Guild serves a primary role in making the Chelsea neighborhood a place where people come together to help others and themselves through education, skills-building, and joint action. The Guild's Mental Health program provides a range of services to meet the mental health needs of residents of Chelsea and surrounding neighborhoods, including group and individual therapy through a licensed mental health clinic; school-based mental health services to a local elementary school; and programs for at-risk youth.
- Hudson Guild website
- Roberts, Sam (July 6, 2005). "New York Times: City Groups Get Bloomberg Gift of $20 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010. Retrieved on August 29, 2007
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