In East Chicago’s Harbor Area sits the “old” Katherine House. Still holding a regal presence, it sits squarely across the street of its current home, the East Chicago Katherine House Boys & Girls Club. The Katherine House, as it was known, has a rich place in East Chicago’s history. Built in 1919 by the local faith based community, its purpose was to serve as a youth center. Fast forward to 1973. As the Boys & Girls Club organization was growing throughout Lake and Porter Counties, the East Chicago Club became the third Club added to the Boys & Girls Clubs family. Lowell Robertson, founder of the East Chicago Club, worked with the Katherine House to merge into the now present East Chicago Katherine House Boys & Girls Club. As a contingent of the merger, girls were accepted as members. In 1992, the current East Chicago Katherine House Boys & Girls Club was built. The purpose of serving youth has never changed.
To kick-off the 100 Year celebration of the original Katherine House in 2019, an anonymous donor is providing the Club, its members, and the community a wonderful opportunity. With an upfront gift of $250,000, this generous donor is giving Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana an incentive to earn an additional $250,000 toward the renovation and enhancement of the Club with a $2 to $1 match, if written pledges are received by November 30, 2018. Foundations of East Chicago helped to meet this match by providing a $500,000, five-year grant, to help with the Club enhancement project. The total goal of this capital improvement initiative is $1.25 million.
“The East Chicago community is a very caring and passionate one,” states Ryan Smiley, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana. “Our East Chicago Club is an important mainstay of the community. We want to keep providing youth with unbelievable opportunities in their out-of-school-time; and we want to provide such opportunities in an environment where they can have fun and feel safe. Renovating this Club is for the kids of this community because they deserve the best.”
In addition to the generosity of the anonymous donor and Foundations of East Chicago, other leaders are stepping forward to invest in this project to ensure members and their families have the best possible Club experience. Renovations and enhancements will begin in late 2018 and wrap up in time for the 100 Year celebration of the Katherine House in 2019.
The Club will remain open during the renovation and precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of Club members throughout the capital project. Community members will have an opportunity to be part of this initiative as Club and community-centered events will be planned to include all.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter and Lake County youth for 63 years! Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. Annual membership is only $35.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 464-7282 or visiting bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.