South Central Community Services, Inc. was founded in 1970 by residents of the Chatham and Avalon Park communities, in response to a lack of mental health services for a growing number of children with emotional and behavioral disorders. These children were being excluded from the public schools on the South side of Chicago. To meet the needs of this unique population, the South Central Community Health Service Organization (SCCHSO) was formed and a special education school established with initial funding from the Department of Mental Health.
Operating from a storefront, SCCHSO expanded its services and purchased the closed Chatham YMCA, which was turned into a community center. By 1981, deteriorating economic conditions and increasing community problems and needs fueled a call for additional programs and services. That call was answered by SCCHSO. So numerous, diverse, and varied were the requests from the residents that SCCHSO had to increase its services and expand its mission. To reflect its evolution, in 1981, SCCHSO was renamed South Central Community Services, Inc. (SCCS).
Since that time, South Central has blossomed into a major comprehensive social service agency, offering programs and services throughout the Chicago area. Each year thousands of residents, ranging from youth to senior citizens, are beneficiaries of the services provided by staff.
The primary communities served by SCCS are: Avalon Park, Burnside, Chatham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Auburn Gresham, Roseland and South Shore. Based in some of Chicago’s most destitute and disadvantaged neighborhoods, South Central’s staff, continues to diligently address the myriad of economic, educational, psychological and social challenges confronting its constituents.
The programs and services offered by South Central during FY’2014 were: Target Literacy Reading Program; Day Treatment Elementary School; Day Treatment High School; Outpatient Mental Health Programs for Children and Adults; Biddy Basketball League; Brag Club for Seniors; Senior Recreation Services; BeBe P.H.A.T (Positive, Hip and Trim); and ‘Out of School Time’ Sports & Recreation; Summer Enrichment Camp and Massage Services.
The exemplary efforts of South Central have been recognized by the Sara Lee Foundation which, honored South Central’s service to the community with its coveted Spirit Award. The legacy of quality services and commitment to the community played a significant role in the Agency’s continued reaccreditation by the Council on Accreditation (COA), a national accrediting body and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation (NCA).
With the support of the Board of Directors, and under the leadership
of Dr. Felicia Y. Blasingame, President/Chief Executive Officer, South
Central is one of the most effective comprehensive human service
agencies in Chicago...one that positively impacts and improves the
quality of life for individuals and families.
Our CEO, Dr. Felicia Blasingame
But what does that mean and how is it accomplished? While there is no one formula for building a high–performance social service organization, during the Board/Staff retreat we identified specific capacities and behaviors that are most critical to our sustainability.