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As published in The Community Foundation Spotlight in The Press Enterprise on June 21, 2014.

Founded in 1911, Community Settlement Association has been focused on family wellness, education, civic engagement, cultural awareness and strengthening the community in Eastside Riverside for more than 100 years.

Community Settlement AssociationPhoto courtesy of Community Settlement AssociationCommunity Settlement Association was founded by Mrs. Arthur N. Wheelock, the wife of Riverside's school superintendent at the time. The organization was built to address concerns for the welfare of thousands of people migrating into Riverside from Mexico to work in the citrus industry. Its initial mission was to help immigrants "settle" into Riverside, but its work has evolved to helping all those in need in Eastside Riverside.

Community Settlement AssociationWith the help of a master gardener and UCR staff, families are transplanting plants in our garden.While times have changed, Eastside Riverside is still in need of community assistance. Barbara Hanna, the Executive Director notes that it is the poorest neighborhood in Riverside. It is an area of high unemployment, low income, and high dropout rates from school. It is also still an area where much of the population speaks English as a second language. Hanna notes that helping strengthen the Eastside community, especially through economic independence, will help the city of Riverside at large.

Looking to help the community help itself, the Association offers a suite of services. One component of their offerings is translation services. They also offer social services and crisis counseling through a part-time family counselor who is bilingual. Charging on a sliding fee scale, their counselor is able to remain affordable.

Community Settlement AssociationBarbara Hanna, Executive Director of Community Settlement Association, in front of a hand-painted mural in the Community Settlement House.The association also offers a free afterschool and summer school program. The programming runs from 3 to 5 PM throughout the school year and from 1 to 5 PM in the summer. Summer programming includes an online literacy program. Community Settlement Association has an ambitious goal of getting all the children they work with reading at grade level. "Most of the children are from Spanish speaking families," says Hanna. "Their parents can't help them with their homework."

Community Settlement Association also offers a free food program in the 92507 zip code area and doesn't turn anyone away. While much of the food is donated, the Association also has a working garden to supply clients with fresh produce. The program is available at 11 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. "We have between 70 and 170 people who come get food," says Hanna "One-third to one-half of the people who come are homeless."

Hanna, who came on board as executive director in September 2013, is excited about the possibilities for Community Settlement Association in the future. Working with a new strategic plan, the board is evaluating ways that they can strengthen the community and create stronger partnerships. "Community Settlement has been helping individuals and changing lives for years," says Hanna. "But in very low income neighborhoods we need to make a difference in the neighborhoods at large."

Community Settlement AssociationHowever, building programming requires funds. The organization makes the bulk of their funding through running the oldest bilingual DUI education program in the county, but it's not enough funding for all the community's needs. The Community Impact Fund at The Community Foundation has granted funds to support the organization's part-time counselor, but Hanna hopes to ultimately find more funding to employ her fulltime. In fact, the Association's headquarters needs a roof and finding the funding to cover even the lowest bid of $23,500 requires community assistance and fundraising efforts. Hanna notes though that much of the community is unaware that Community Settlement Association exists.

"The city of Riverside residents are really the owners of Settlement," says Hanna "If we didn't exist, you would want us to. It is to the good of the whole city to have this neighborhood improve."

If you want to find out more about Community Settlement Association and how to help you can visit or call 951-686-6266.