Harrisburg, PA

Jul 10, 2022 - Jul 15, 2022

First UMC Gastonia

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Learn more about this community

Walk alongside development organizations as they seek to break the cycle of generational poverty.

About Harrisburg, PA

Originally a ferry outpost town along the Susquehanna River, Harrisburg has served as the capital of Pennsylvania since 1810. Harrisburg is known as the “cultural, historical, entertainment, recreational, financial and governmental hub of Central Pennsylvania”. However, even with such accolades, Harrisburg has been a struggling community. Listed as the second most distressed city in the nation in the early 80’s, Harrisburg has been slowly working to renew its standing as a successful community. With a median income well below the national average, many families live in poverty. Harrisburg is a community in the midst of transformation. While the city declared bankruptcy in 2011, many local non-profits and civic groups have taken the initiative in continuing to provide needed resources for their neighbors. As funding is cut to public schools, local organizations offer art programs, after-school tutoring and enrichment programs. Local churches are feeding their neighbors, partnering with service organizations to keep people warm in winter, and leading the fight for adequate and afforable housing and to keep their neighborhoods clean and safe of dilapidated homes. Harrisburg is a community where the underdog knows nothing can be done alone, that just like a sign in the midst of Allison Hill states, "it is the heart of the community that will bring change and transformation, neighbors working together for change."

Serving in Harrisburg, PA

Though Harrisburg seems to be a flourishing city, there are still significant challenges facing this small urban community. After filing for bankruptcy in 2011, a variety of strains created negative impacts on the city, including corrupt government leadership, unevenly distributed resources, and a diminishing infrastructure. The community is still on the rise after this significant event in its story. Although there are noticeable improvements to the city since 2011, there are still neighborhoods within the community that remain significantly under-resourced. YouthWorks, specifically, invests its summer in the Allison Hill neighborhood, considered to be the most under-resourced neighborhood in Harrisburg. We work with organizations within the community including neighborhood associations, summer camps for children, and community gardens. We also work with outside organizations that help resource the neighborhood like food banks and other local ministries and complete small repair and city beautification projects.