36 Wall Street
Worcester, MA 01604
Over the past 90 years, the core philosophy of Friendly House has remained unchanged. Friendly House helps people to help themselves, generate self-reliance and increase their quality of life. The strengthening of the finest family standards and the highest American ideals is the underlying educational purpose of Friendly House. Friendly House provides opportunities for individuals to realize their potential for a full life through self-direction and growth. Friendly House director, Gordon Hargrove, has been with the Friendly House since 1957 and is proud of the day-to-day victories that this organization accomplishes. Hargrove sees no better victory than maintaining Friendly House through its 100th anniversary.
The Founding Years
Friendly House first opened its doors in 1920, as a small three-room settlement house located at 37 Norfolk Street in, Worcester, MA, under the sponsorship of the Worcester Civic League. Their mission was to promote neighborhood health and welfare for the betterment of Worcester and to further the interests of Worcester’s immigrants – introducing them to customs and traditions of their new home and helping them to become and integral part of civic life.
A club room, kitchen and dental room made up the settlement house. Classes in housekeeping, cooking, nursing, dressmaking, basketry, and millinery were offered for girls. Boys had manual training each week and social gatherings were regularly planned and well attended. Dental care was critical but funds for a full-scale program were scarce. A dental hygienist split her time between Friendly House and the Neighborly house to provide services to the children.
Programs expanded in the mid 1920’s to include a pre-school nursery, Red Cross first aid, singing, sewing and a dental clinic. A dentist and hygienist handled the needs of forty-two children. Quickly needing more space, Friendly House moved into a new home at 57 Norfolk Street in 1927. This site provided morning activities for young children, while afternoons were reserved for the older school age children. This second Friendly House served as a transitional home until a larger space could be found.
In 1928, the Junior League assumed responsibility for Friendly House from the Worcester Civic League. They proved that Friendly House could take care of an enormous neighborhood and all members of a family from nursery school age and up. Shortly thereafter, the Junior League secured a lease on a much larger, two-story, ten room building with heat, natural sunlight, spacious areas and a playground located at 38 Wall Street.
Though Friendly House remained under the supervision of The Junior League, in November 1928, Friendly House was recognized as a freestanding, not-for-profit incorporated organization and formed a Board of Directors.
Participants will have access to all Youth Programs. Participants will be given a 15% discount for any program that requires a fee. Most programs have rolling registration, but for those with limited slots participants will be enrolled on a first come first served bases. In order to gain access to the programs participants must complete a Youth Application.