A quilt of social service groups, past and present, helps form the evolution and current makeup of The Next Door Inc., which this week celebrates 40 years of work helping the community.
The quilt includes programs with names such as Big Brothers, Housing For All, Nuestra Communidad Sana, El Nino Sana, Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Families First and Healthy Start.
These names, and more, all suggest a basic theme: people working together to move others toward healthier ways of life.
Congratulations to Director Janet Hamada and staff, and the board and supporters of Next Door for the organization's four decades, and counting, of making life a little better, one person at a time.
The agency has settled into its newly refurbished location on the Heights. Grants and extensive local contributions have coalesced to fund the building acquisition and renovation, but the agency is still working to raise the funds to pay off those costs. Community members can learn more about that, as well as the Next Door Inc. programs, at a 40th anniversary open house from 3-7 p.m. Thursday, co-hosted by Chamber of Commerce as the monthly Business After Hours.
Next Door started in 1971 in a big old farmhouse at May and 11th streets, which became The Klahre House; and for years the corner was graced by a brick pillar and a plaque with the name of Jim Klahre, DI's founding board chair. NDI bought the house in 1987, but Klahre House as a separate building is no more.
Klahre House is now under the same roof as the rest of Next Door, yet it keeps a separate identity (and a separate entrance) as a place of education and support for youth who are in foster care.
But the plaque is right there in the foyer, a weathered memento, in that remodeled building, of the roots of NDI's outreach.