For more than 90 years, the Ridge Avenue campus now known as Northern Children’s Services has served as home and safe haven for local underprivileged children and young mothers.
This summer — thanks to donations and contributions from Wawa, Jon Bon Jovi Foundation and IKEA — Merrick Hall renovations enabled NCS to double the capacity of women and children they can serve.
On Saturday, it hosted an open-house event to showcase community-based services including a daycare center as well as the residential, behavioral and child-welfare services offered there.
“We have a wonderful community here,” said Kia Butler, director of treatment foster care, “and we really want them to see what we’re providing here at NCS.”
Bonnie Dugan, NCS’ marketing director, led campus tours for attendees. She said it was important to let residents know they’re opening up to the community.
“We’re up on this big hill and, for a while, people didn’t know who Northern Children’s Services were,” she said. “I really want to promote it to the community and show how far we’ve come and the bright direction that we’re heading.
“We offer the services to the children of the community because we want them to have a safe environment where they can learn and grow and be contributing members of society. Once you get in here, there’s a sense of family and that’s what we really are.”