Milwaukee Christian Center (MCC) was founded in 1921 by an by an American Baptist missionary named Mamie Passolt MacKinney who was appointed by the Woman’s American Baptist Churches Home Mission Society to develop the “South Side Christian Center,” (now known as the Milwaukee Christian Center). The Center was created to meet the needs of the newly arrived immigrant children, and to house a “Head Start-type Program” for preschool youngsters, 40 years ahead of the federal government’s projects.
From its humble beginnings MCC began adding new programs, including founding the first Golden Age Club and the first Elderly Nutrition Program in Milwaukee County. Currently, MCC is a multi-faceted social service and neighborhood development agency that serves families, youth, and elderly.
Located at 2137 W. Greenfield Avenue, MCC moved into its present location in 1967 and has spent the last 30 plus years gradually renovating the site. In addition, the MCC helped found the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center in 1958; the “Spot” in 1971, which became the United Community Center; and the Bay View Community Center in 1976.
With almost 100 full-time and part-time staff, as well as 48 volunteers, MCC is governed by a Board of Directors representing the community and the American Baptist Churches.
The Milwaukee Christian Center believes all people deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. And, to that end, MCC has become a beacon of hope for the impoverished by compassionately guiding people out of poverty to create a community where suffering is alleviated, the inherent value of each person is cherished, and opportunities abound.
As Executive Director Barbara J. Wyatt Sibley states, “We believe in fair and equal treatment for all; without regard of ethnic origin, gender, economic status, race, religion, or sexual orientation. We started as a faith-based entity attempting to meet the needs of south side immigrants. Today, we attempt to meet the needs of all people in our community regardless of race or age. We serve youth, seniors and everyone else in between as well as men and women in need of assistance which we do with the support of great funders and partners.”
MCC recently celebrated 90 years of service to near south side residents. The agency also prides itself on being the “birth mother’ of other agencies such as the United Community Center (UCC), which has gone on to do great things in the neighborhood.
MCC offers an array of programs, for preschoolers through senior citizens. Among them are Kids Place, an after school program offered at its main site, 2137 W. Greenfield Avenue,; the Youth Development Program (YDP), which is an after school program that provides services to youth, ages 10 to 19, at its satellite site-Koscuiszko Community Center, 2201 S. 7th St; two juvenile justice programs for youth, ages 10 to 17, who have committed minor offenses such as retail theft or truancy; a First Time Juvenile Offender Program, that serves more than 200 participants a year through the First Time Juvenile Offender Program (FTJOP). MCC is one of three agencies that provides “tracking” or case management services for youth, ages 10 to 16, who have committed a minor offense; its Community Service Options Program, which through a collaboration with the Social Development Commission, offers the Community Service Options Program for youth who have received municipal tickets; and the Neighborhood Improvement Project, which is a program that has a variety of services to Milwaukee residents since 1975, including housing rehabilitation, graffiti removal, a ramp program, minor home repair, affordable housing production, and a Youthbuild program.
MCC also provides an array of programs and services to senior adults, 60 and older, including health, recreation, and nutrition services that help elderly adults remain healthy, physically independent, and connected to the community. This program specializes in services to elderly Southeast Asian adults, with bilingual staff providing services to over 250 Hmong, Lao, Korean, and Vietnamese seniors.
With a myriad of programs and services rooted in its Christian values, the Milwaukee Christian Center truly embraces the notion of being ‘my brother’s keeper,’ and for that we thank the MCC for putting the ‘neighbor’ in the hood!