The Little Organization That Could

bike-hycc-kids-opt-1Hawthorne Youth and Community Center, Inc. (HYCC) has provided quality affordable programs for low and moderate-income youth, families, and Highland Park residents since 1967. HYCC started as a club for teens in a coal cellar and launched a Positive Youth Development program for 6-18 year olds when it moved into 9 Fulda Street in 1970.

HYCC offers youth opportunities to participate in diverse educational, cultural, recreational, and vocational activities that help prepare them for academic, career, and personal success. In addition to acquiring new skills, participants gain self-confidence and practice teamwork to accomplish goals.

Hawthorne youth have shared their artistic accomplishments in 13 First Night Grand Processions and 9 Community Creations Exhibits at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and entertained at over twenty holiday celebrations at Marcella Park.

Middle and high school students have hand crafted benches that enhance the Hawthorne site, worked with architects to design and build a sustainable storage shed for the center, and worked as peer leaders, camp counselors, and counselors in training.

HYCC builds community by conducting activities and offering services to Highland Park residents. The Dollar a Bag Program, a collaboration with Fair Foods, offers community people access to produce, bread, and other items at a nominal fee and monthly meetings of the Hawthorne Area Association bring residents together to discuss development, environmental, public safety, and other issues with state and city representatives.

– Samantha Sadd



What Hawthorne has done this past Spring:


Hawthorne’s Community Garden:

Hawthorne has been gardening since 1984 when teens in our Landscape Training/Employment program constructed a garden. Today our garden contains twelve raised bed plots cultivated by families, adults, and students in our after school program. Located in our back yard, the garden is home to vegetables, flowers, herbs, and a wonderful strawberry bed.

Site Beautification:

Launched this fall, our partnership with Mass College of Art and Design brought volunteers and resources to engage neighborhood residents in enhancing the Hawthorne site by planting daffodils and beautifying our fence. Neighbors will come together on May 17th to complete mobile planters and continue work on the fence.

See volunteers at work here.


Architecture Project:

“Architectural Note Cards from the Neighborhood ” is a ten week spring project engaging 6-12 year olds in exploring the Highland Park neighborhood to identify, discuss, photograph, draw and write about diverse architectural styles in Highland Park. An exhibit of their note cards will be displayed at Haley House which hosts a reception for Hawthorne Junior Architects, project Architect Jessica Leete, and Art Educator Wendy Ellertson on June 18th. The exhibit will also be displayed at the Dudley Library.

Tree Planting:

A Cherokee brave flowering dogwood tree, a gift from the Spreading Roots Program at Boston Natural Areas Network, became part of Hawthorne’s landscape when students from the St. Lawrence University Sustainability Semester Program planted the dogwood tree on Saturday, May 10th; their visit to Hawthorne included conversations about food justice with teens in the Say It Loud Media Arts Project.