By Megan Isenberg, , Director of Jane Boyd Community House
Jane Boyd was the epitome of a servant leader. She dedicated her life to serving vulnerable children and families in the Oakhill-Jackson neighborhood. During her lifetime, she impacted hundreds of families, and 100 years later, her legacy can still be felt in the heart of the neighborhood.
Jane Boyd’s story is one of compassion and perseverance. As a teacher at Tyler School, she tended to not only the academic needs of students, but also served their basic, social, and emotional needs. She listened carefully to children’s stories of not having enough to eat or of their parents being out of work.
These stories inspired her to take action and soon she took on the role of social worker in addition to her teaching duties. From ensuring that families had enough food to eat to making sure that children were properly clothed and receiving medical care, her impact in the community continued to grow. In 1921, Jane opened a community house specifically designed to serve children and families in Oakhill-Jackson.
She tirelessly dedicated her life to serving the most vulnerable, and did so relentlessly right up until her death in 1932. Hundreds of community members attended her memorial service, which spoke to the nature of love the community had for her and all that she had done to help those around her.
After her death, it was imperative for her mission and vision to live on through other servant leaders and community members who continued the operations of the Jane Boyd Community House. From 1932 to current day, the Jane Boyd Community House has offered many iterations of services to keep up with the changing times. Yet all of the services have been centered around Jane Boyd’s core mission of serving the academic, emotional, and social wellbeing of youth and families in our diverse community.
2021 marks the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Jane Boyd Community House, and as I reflect on the rich history of the past century and the mission-driven services of the Community House, I am humbled by Jane Boyd’s vision and her ability to bring people together to ensure the success of children and families.
Today, the Jane Boyd Community House continues to offer robust youth educational programs, job and career development classes for young adults, and entrepreneurial education courses for those inspired to drive their own economic success. We also operate two facilities that are a resource for community members and a place for them to play sports, host family celebrations, and a variety of other annual events that allow neighborhood residents to come together.
In uplifting Jane Boyd’s compassion and spirit of service, the Jane Boyd Community House and Harambee House will embark on a yearlong celebration of Jane Boyd, her lasting impact, and the legacy she created with the mission and vision of the Community House. I invite you to join us in this celebration by visiting janeboyd.org to learn more about Jane Boyd’s legacy and how you can support the work we are doing today to carry out her vision.
Our mission is to enhance the academic, emotional and social wellbeing of children and families in our diverse community with programs focused on developing successful and productive adults.
You can make a difference by partnering with Jane Boyd. Contact us to find out how.