Jane Boyd (1869-1932) was a teacher and a pioneer social worker who lived and worked in the Oak Hill-Jackson neighborhood in Cedar Rapids. She cared for her students and wanted to be sure they had enough food and lived in stable homes.
Jane’s Loving Concern
Jane Boyd showed constant and loving concern for the people in her neighborhood and had close relationships with her students and their families.
Jane Encouraged Community Responsibility
Jane had a sense of community responsibility that she shared with the families from Tyler School. She helped make a social house with a library, story time for children, classes for adult education, help for immigrants, reading groups and sewing. Soon the house was thought as a community center. As more people started coming to the center, Jane Boyd found helpers to set up programs and work at the house.
The board of directors thought the Community House should be renamed for Jane Boyd. At the grand opening, Jane Boyd said, “No creed is taught, no denomination served, yet a religious atmosphere pervades the whole program. The House seeks through its contacts to make boys and girls, and men and women, of more service to themselves and better citizens of the community.”
Over the years, Community House services have changed to meet the needs of the local community by adding services and outreach.
Harambee House, located in the nearby Wellington Heights neighborhood, was made to offer counseling and skill-building programs while children’s programs have continued at the Community House.
Our Current Mission
The current mission is “to enhance the academic emotional and social well-being of children and families in our diverse community with programs focused on developing successful and productive adults.” In keeping with Jane Boyd’s original thought, the Community House and Harambee House provide services for youth and adults including preschool, counseling, after school program, tutoring, recreation, outreach services, computer lab and summer day camp, all with an assortment of special interests programs.