We, the Board of Directors and staff of the Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center in West Chester, PA, take the following stance concerning racial issues in America.
WE STAND AGAINST:
- Systemic and Institutional Racism
- Disparities and Disproportionality
- Silence and Indifference
WE STAND FOR:
- Equity and Equality
- Social Justice
- Police and Judicial Reform
- Public Protests
- Unity, Cooperation, and Community
- Equal Access to all Educational Resources
- Voting without Voter Suppression
WE STAND WITH:
- The Marginalized
- The Underserved
- The Underrepresented
The Mission of the historic Charles A Melton Arts and Education Center is to contribute to the quality of life for all people of the greater West Chester community by continuing its long commitment to providing educational, recreational, cultural and civic services.
In the midst of this global crisis, it has been our honor to step and reach out to help our most vulnerable
populations while training and employing low income youth and seniors, as well as individuals who have
lost employment because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Every week Filet of Soul Culinary Institute at the Melton Center prepares and delivers hundreds of meals to low income seniors and families in West Chester and Coatesville! Filet of Soul Culinary Institute has been covering all costs.
Photos by Mayor Dianne Herrin
Filet of Soul exists to love people and transform lives through employment, food, music, service, and outreach. In 2017, Filet of Soul partnered with the Melton Center and the Chester County Workforce Development Board to establish Filet of Soul Culinary Institute (FOSCI) as a Melton Center Program.
The free program was established to mentor and train economically disadvantaged youth in culinary arts and the hospitality industry, while also offering paid work experience opportunities and employment. In 2019, the Melton Center received a PHARE grant from PHFA to expand the FOSCI program to include a more extensive culinary training program and health and wellness classes and activities.
FOSCI’s current focus includes:
1. Training and mentoring economically disadvantaged youth and young adults.
2. Employing and training 2nd chance employees and dislocated workers
3. Donating home-cooked healthy meals to our most vulnerable populations.
Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Filet of Soul and the Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center have been working with Mayor Dianne Herrin, United Way of Chester County, the West Chester Area Senior Center, The Bridge Academy and Community Center, the Coatesville Towers Senior Apartments, the Church Street Towers, the Denney Rayburn House, and other organizations to provide complimentary meals to low-income seniors and families in West Chester and Coatesville.
The video highlights our recent fundraiser and our meal donation program.
We have reviewed the CDC, state, and local guidelines for safety during COVID-19, and we have made the difficult decision not to hold our Summer STEAM Camp in person this year.
The Center wishes we would be spending the summer learning and exploring with our students, but the health and safety of our students, families, and community are always our first priority.
We are committed to providing a high-quality, engaging virtual program for the students this year, and we look forward to coming back with a stronger program than ever in Summer 2021.
We have reviewed the CDC, state, and local guidelines during COVID-19, and we have made the difficult decision to cancel our summer basketball league for 2020. We know how much the community looks forward to the summer league, and we are disappointed about missing this year of the league. However, the health and safety of our students, families, and community are always our first priority. We look forward to coming back in Summer 2021 with a stronger program than ever.
As we go through these difficult times, we first want to express our sincere wishes that you and yours are in the best of health, and remain so. To stay compliant with the newest CDC and Local mandates, all Melton Center events are postponed until further notice. We will resume business as soon as it is safe and hopefully our temporary postponement along with most other businesses will have successfully reduced the spread of the virus to a manageable level.
We ask for your patience, understanding and support while we get through this as a community. We are a small business/Non-Profit directly affected by this current situation and we are doing our best to make it through this difficult time. We promise you will be the first to know when we have an update. In the meantime, our offices will be closed until further notice with limited administrative capacity. We very much look forward to seeing everyone when this is over!
Please stay safe and well,
Sincerely, Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center
Jamie Atkins grew up in West Chester and graduated from West Chester East High School. She went on to college at the University of Delaware and graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, earning master’s degrees in education and psychology.
She worked in Philadelphia for ten years at an education non-profit and as a classroom teacher, where she developed a passion and commitment to education and social justice. She is excited to have the opportunity to support students in her hometown of West Chester as part of the team at the Charles A. Melton Center.
Plans for the Charles A. Melton Arts and Education Center to build about 50 affordable workforce development housing units along Market Street, Miner and Worthington streets have been approved. Church Housing of Phoenixville and NRP LLC are also involved in construction expected to cost $15.4 million.
The grant from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has approved and ground-breaking at the 2.5 acre site to the east of the current building is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2020.