Two youngsters hold strawberries grown in the Community Center Kids Garden in Delaware.

Courtesy | Unity Community Center

In 2010, a group of Delaware County citizens set out to create the Unity Community Center (previously called Second Ward Community Initiative) to provide resources for community members and promote a higher quality of life. For instance, the center aims to provide resources for county residents, particularly low-income and high-risk residents.

Unity Community Center’s Meghan Bailey said, “Our mission is to improve the quality of life and positively impact the Delaware community. We work on behalf of the residents, sharing resources and providing intergenerational services across life.”

In 2012, the Second Ward Community Initiative purchased a city building called the Second Ward Community Center to better serve its residents. Then in 2020, the Second Ward Community Initiative changed its name to the Unity Community Center to strengthen and promote inclusivity, increase partnerships, and further programmatic expansion with race, equity, and inclusion in mind, and reflect a growing impact on Delaware County.

“The Unity Community Center began to shift its focus from a gathering place in the Second Ward to a social service agency providing resources to residents and the city,” Bailey said.

Now three years later, the Unity Community Center has established itself as a center of positivity and hope that provides resources and help for Delaware County members.

The center has many events throughout the year, including the Unity Community Festival, a Juneteenth Celebration, Back to School programs, STEAM it and Mean it, fall festivals, Community Conversations, baby showers, and a Polar Express event in December. The center’s upcoming events include a baby shower on July 29, and a back-to-school event in August. A baby shower includes giving donated baby items such as diapers, baby wipes, and onesies, to parents in need of such items.

“These events are some of our major events where we celebrate, give back, and unite with our Delaware community,” Bailey said.

The center has an amazing group of volunteers who create and guide these events. The center’s director of development is Natalie Wilson. Crystal Ransaw is the 55Hart program coordinator, who leads programs for 55-plus residents. Bailey is the director of K-12 education. Additionally, the center features board directors Taj Bakare, Karriejoi Coit, Gere Jordan, Kenyetta Bagby and Tamie Wilson.

Throughout the Unity Community Center’s 12-year history, the main challenge is funding. The center constantly requires funding to keep the building and programs running. The center has a few volunteers who help with the grant process but are always open to more volunteers to come and help with more grants.

“This journey has been hard, but we help people one person at a time with hopes they see the benefits of us in the community, then they will come back and help us,” Bailey said. “We are grateful for every ounce of energy from volunteers in the past. Each brick they have laid has built a strong foundation for a strong center.”

If you are interested in helping out, please check out the Unity Community Center’s website or social media pages.

William Wang is an Olentangy Liberty High School student and member of Powell Youth Council, which is a 15-student-governed nonprofit organization recognized and partnered with the Powell government that Wang created in March of 2022. Powell Youth Council’s purpose is to give a voice and power to the youth of Powell in local decisions and projects, show how local leaders create projects and decisions, and motivate the youth to help their community.