The Soul Shack was organized in 1968 through the efforts of a group of visionary, community minded residents responding to the serious need for a youth center to serve the approximate 500 families in the area. By 1970 the corp of backers had grown to include the Ardmore Civic Association and other Lower Merion Township leaders. Permission was secured to use a building in Ardmore, adjacent to the Ardmore Avenue Playground (now the Vernon V. Young Memorial Park). The site was perfect.
In 1977 with government funding the Shack was torn down and the program was moved up the street to the Women's Club next to the Ardmore Library during construction. In 1978 the new Ardmore Avenue Community Center opened its doors. A temporary structure who's life was not expected to last more than 10 years...we're still here, and still affectionately known as the Shack.
I want to personally thank all of the Past Directors who laid the foundation for me to follow:
Tawny T. Gates
The Ardmore Avenue Community Center is a 501(c)3 Non Profit Organizatipn.
Our mission is to provide a wide range of educational, recreational, cultural, and social resources for residents, particularly children and youth in South Ardmore and its neighboring communities. "Teaching the Youth of Today...Tools for Tomorrow" is the motto of the AACC. Our goal through our programming is to give our youth the tools and confidence needed to become strong goal oriented adults who will have a positive impact on the community and the future. We take serious our charge to have a positive impact on the development of our youth, offering a safe haven with programs where they can learn new skills, develop important competencies and establish healthy supportive relationships with peers and adults. Relationship building is very important in the lives of young people.
Linda has worked with kids most of her life. She worked as Park Supervisor of Ardmore Avenue Playground under Vernon Young. She's worked as Recreation Specialist for the AACC Summer Day Camp.
A graduate of Lower Merion High School, Linda completed 108 credit hours in Physical Education from Delaware State University and received a B.S. in Recreation from Cheyney State University. There isn't a Masters program for Recreation. Since graduation she attended educational workshops and classes on:
Building Assets in our Youth
Pharmacology of Commonly Abused Substances in Adolescents
Safe Schools: Conflict Management, Anger Control and Violence
Proposal Writing from A-Z
The Effective Supervisor’s Tool Kit
Best Positive Youth Development Supervisor’s Course
Developing Your Resources
Financial Management for Non-Financial Professionals
Principles of Supervision
Team Building Skills
While in college she realized she'd rather work with kids in a setting where they wanted to be versus where they had to be. After growing up in the old Shack, it was an honor to be hired at the Center. Linda was hired as Program Coordinator for the Center in 1988. Linda became Director of the Center in December 2001. Since then she has received a Municipal Leadership Certificate from Penn State University. Classes included
Project Management Training
Advanced Project Management Training
Public Entity Risk Management
Effective Facilitation Skills
Facilitation: A Problem Solving Toolkit
Starting A Development Plan
She also received a certificate for Fundraising from Villanova University.
Linda still plans special events such as Unity Day, Jazzy Art Show, Pre Mother's Day Brunch, & Holiday Bazaar
When asked what is/was your favorite program? Her response is always the same..."A New Beginning" Drill Team. Pound for Pound they were unstoppable! How has she lasted for 30 plus years? "Kid's laughter soothes the soul".
Larry has been Program Coordinator at the Center since 2002. He is instrumental in bringing new programs to the Center, most notably LIGHT, the Wildcats travel team and he revitalized the Summer Basketball League.
Larry attended Spring Garden College, Temple University and acquired a degree in Real Estate from Philadelphia Community College.
He's worked with youth for over 30 years, initially volunteering as a basketball coach at the Nicetown Boys & Girls Club. It didn't take long for him to realize that working with kids was his passion. A career change was eminent. He was eventually employed with the Boys & Girls Club of America where he worked for 16 years. Positions ranged from program worker to athletic director. Larry then became a race relations counselor with the Woodrock Organization, where he was contracted with the School District of Philadelphia.
An Accomplished saxophonist, Larry has played all over the country, but primarily performs in the North and Southeastern part of the country. He's recorded several contemporary gospel cds. Meeting Chaka Kahn when he opened up for her at the Borgatta in Atlantic City is a great memory.
What do you love most about working with young people? Seeing them recognize and use their talents (whether athletic, artistic, or academic) as a means to become successful college students and beyond!
Crystal's work with children and youth began as a bus driver for Radnor School District for eight years. She went on to work for Upper Darby School District working as a 7th grade special education teacher's assistant before moving on to administrative assistant for two principals in the district. During this time she was also working part time for the Township of Lower Merion's Parks and Recreation Department as Park Supervisor of Vernon Young Park.
Crystal Galloway became full time in May of 2002, as the Center's Program Assistant. She has revamped the "Sistaz" program and developed "Lil Sis".
Since coming to the Center Crystal has earned an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education and Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University. She has also earned certificates in Youth Development
Communication & Conflict Resolution
Tips, Trips & Triumphs
Bring in the Fun: Lessons in the Cultural Arts
Core Standards 101: An Introduction to Standards
Why do you love working with kids? I have a chance to make a real difference in the life of a young person, by providing the tools they need to succeed. They are our future, they're like a blank statement until you actually put the work in and help shape them into responsible and successful adults.
The guiding administration of the Ardmore Avenue Community Center is it's board of trustees. The board collectively encompasses various duties and responsibilities. The key function of the board is to ensure the furtherance of the Community Center's mission statement.
This is a brand new board:
Nicole Uter, President
Rachel Rogers, Vice President
Tylisa Dudley, Treasurer
Kionna Clinkscales, Secretary
Joseph W Grant
When shopping on
Ardmore Ave Community Center - The Soul Shack Fund
Donations will be made to us at NO charge to you!