Back to School Rally preps Central families for first day

Back to School Rally preps Central families for first day

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood kicked off its #PromiseReads initiative at Friendly Inn’s Back to School Rally on Monday, August 6. Promise team members handed out #PromiseReads backpacks filled with school supplies, as well as bookmarks and books from the Kids Book Bank, to encourage reading among families and children.

Thanks to all who joined us this year!


11471 IMG_20180806_134541 IMG_20180806_134421_1 IMG_20180806_132950 IMG_20180806_130429 IMG_20180806_115251 IMG_20180806_125005

Back-to-School Rally Happens Aug. 8

Back-to-School Rally Happens Aug. 8

PromiseNeighborhood10Families are invited to the annual fun at the Cleveland Central Back-to-School Rally from noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at Friendly Inn, 2386 Unwin Road.

The free event includes snacks, school supplies, entertainment and activities for Cleveland Central residents.

Plus, volunteer hair stylists will be back to give haircuts to the boys and braid hair for the children.

This event is held in collaboration with the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, Paramount and Friendly Inn.

See you there!



Students & Community Plant Trees at East Tech

Students & Community Plant Trees at East Tech

IMG_0645Adults, high school students, and younger youth gathered in April to plant trees at East Tech High School. Organized by Do More 4 Good, the volunteers’ work will blossom for years to come. Check out some of the photos in this slide show:


ARAMARK Partnership

An ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone was recently created focused on health and wellness education and awareness for families served by the Friendly Inn Settlement House.

Some 85 ARAMARK volunteers, with City Year support, built and will continue to maintain both a community garden and a new outdoor recreation area to help arm residents in the fight against obesity and chronic disease caused by poor nutrition and lack of exercise. The new garden will also create a source of fresh, healthy food and provide educational programming throughout the year about how small changes in eating habits and behaviors can change lives.

The August 1 event, with dozens of volunteers from ARAMARK and City Year, also launched a new partnership between ARAMARK and Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland as part of ARAMARK Building Community, the company’s commitment to enriching lives by helping people improve their health, secure jobs and move out of poverty both in Cleveland and in 52 cities around the world.

“There is not a better example of how we live our responsibilities as a company than through ARAMARK Building Community. Our employees’ passion for giving back to our communities is one of the things that makes our company so great,” said Eric Foss, ARAMARK CEO and president.

The Friendly Inn courtyard was transformed into a community fruit and vegetable garden and gathering space for children, with newly constructed benches and checkerboard tables set up around the area.

“This collaboration (with ARAMARK, City Year and Promise) extends the scope of our services beyond measure and for that we are truly grateful beyond. With that being said we will use our gratitude as a compass for our service,” said Joseph Black, MyCom Director at Friendly Inn.

The volunteers also added to Friendly Inn’s little library new benches and gardens to make it more inviting. The group also enhanced Friendly Inn’s food pantry and entryway and created murals that are hung throughout the center and built an outdoor planter and a Friendly Inn sign.

“Friendly Inn is a different place today,” said Susanna H. Krey, President of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, as well as Beverly Charles, representing Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Meredith Turner, representing Senator Sherrod Brown, stopped by to support the effort.

Building Communities

Good evening. It is roughly 7 pm, and the day has finally come to a finish.

The aches of the labor are settling in, yet the pain is being eased by the joy of success. As I took my final walk through, prior to locking the building, I was able to truly absorb the work and effort that was put forth on behalf of our youth. I thought of all the hands and minds that worked timelessly to make this idea a reality. As I continued to walk I thought of all the funds that were used as an investment in our individual greatness.

This collaboration (with ARAMARK, City Year and Promise) extends the scope of our services beyond measure and for that we are truly grateful beyond. With that being said we will use our gratitude as a compass for our service.

As we continue in our journey of cultivating, planting and nurturing those served in the Central Community. Thank you again; we sincerely appreciate your hard work.

Joseph Black, MyCom Director at Friendly Inn Settlement House

Neighbor Donates to the Community

Promise’s Little Free Libraries event on July 16 attracted not only community members and volunteers, but individuals who share an expansive history with the original Friendly Inn Settlement House, even before Promise Neighborhood initiative began in the Central community.

Sheila Shaw was one such person who came out to participate in the Little Free Libraries Event, where volunteers came out to build six little libraries that will be placed throughout the neighborhood. Residents of all ages are encouraged to take a book and read it and keep it, or return that book or another favorite for others to enjoy.

Ms. Shaw donated 15 books and magazines to the event. Among the books she donated, there are poetry books , daily spiritual reading books, history books and some biographies about such important people as Malcolm X , Winnie Mandela and Steven Biko who was a South African freedom fighter/activist in the 1960s and 1970s.

As a teenager Ms. Shaw started a club called the Larkets, which was a group of young women including her that would come together typically on Thursdays to hold meetings to discuss plans of action to improve the community. Each Saturday as a fundraiser, they had a dance and sold hot dogs and soda.

Ms. Shaw also had the opportunity to know singer and song writer Edwin Starr most known for his number one hit “War.” Of Starr, Shaw says “he and his singing group got their springboard back in the 1950’s here at the Friendly Inn.” Starr would participate in the dancing and club socials that the Larkets would host at the Friendly Inn.

The themes that she and her Larket members endeavored to emphasize ranged from how to manage and conduct meetings to saving money.

Ms. Shaw explained that she donated the books because “young people do not know their history. It’s important to know history to know how you got to this point. My family is informed.”

Ms. Shaw describes herself as a lifelong Central resident saying, “I have always lived in the 79th area.” She attended John Hay high school prior to – as she lamented “the schooling of the Central area began to unravel in the 1960’s.” In discussing the decline of the Central area she states that “welfare really killed us as a people.” At the time she was “coming up” there was no welfare and “we did everything ourselves. Welfare was supposed to be a temporary relief to people, not something they live on for the rest of their lives.”

Ms. Shaw has three living children out of a total of four and eight living grandchildren out of a total of ten. She lost two of her grandchildren to a heart-attack and sickle cell anemia. She also lost her daughter from sickle-cell anemia.

When asked how she learned of the little library event she explained that she had gone to the Langston Hughes community center for her nutrition situation where she also received literature about Promise in a bag. She called the number on the pamphlet and she was referred to Sonya Pryor-Jones, Promise director.

Despite the unbearable heat on the day of the event, Ms. Shaw says she was happy to return to where she had begun so many years ago.

– By Nina Kidd