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Q House plans upcoming centennial celebration, reviews programming successes

In their November meeting, Q House board members announced contributions to the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods including arts performances and a college fair.

Jake Siesel

1:24 am, Nov 30, 2023

Brian Zhang, Contributing Photographer

The Q House held their monthly meeting on Monday, Nov. 27, presiding over a slew of fall community events, the allocation of government grants and the center’s upcoming centennial. 

The Dixwell Community House originally stood as a settlement house for African-Americans following the Great Migration. Established in 1924, the “Q” provided public services to residents in the predominantly Black Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods. In 2003, however, the center closed its doors. Following a 19-year hiatus, community organizers reopened the center in 2021. 

Alder Jeanette Morrison, who represents Dixwell, said that 1,500 children, teens, adults and seniors pass through the Q House’s doors weekly.

Yakeita Robinson, a member of the Q House Advisory Board, delivered a Fall 2023 report on the board’s leadership successes and areas for improvement.

The organization hosted a self-care day, college fair and movie night for the Dixwell community this year. Leadership, Education, & Athletics in Partnership, a New Haven youth organization, employs Q House spaces for athletic, musical and art programming. On Nov. 4, the organization held a first math and literacy event for school children.

“Folks are speechless,” Morrison said, praising Robinson’s commitment to quality Q House programming. 

The Q House emphasizes collaboration with youth groups and local organizations, such as the Community Foundation, Cliffords Beers and New Haven Adult Education. 

A showcase of the Nutcracker on Dec. 3 and Winter Wonderland on Dec. 23 are bringing even more excitement for the holiday season. 

“She’s been doing an excellent job helping that building move forward with its programming capacity. Kudos,” Sean Reeves, co-chair of the Q House Board, added. 

Kaussar Rahman, a member of the Fundraiser and Finance Committee, said the group is working  to crush fundraising goals and grow the Q House’s endowment fund. 

Two years ago, the Q House received a grant of $200,000 from the city. 

“We’ve received a $200,000 dollar grant which is part of purchasing a van, and creating a mini auditorium in the gym so we can have many more events and be accessible,” Rahman said. 

The Q House is also looking to erect a statue memorializing Daniel Stewart’s legacy in the neighborhood. Stewart, the namesake of the plaza outside the Q House, wrote a book in 1977 documenting five decades of life in Dixwell. Board members said that the Q House received a sixty thousand dollar award to pay homage to Stewart’s legacy. The statue, which is part of the center’s centennial plan, now has enough funding to move forward, Morrison said.  

Xavier Jones, a youth representative and senior in high school, told the Committee about a college fair held at the Q House that represented 30 to 40 different institutions. For the college fair, the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center connected prospective college students with physicians. Around 100 students attended the successful event. 

“This was just an idea and it’s remarkable that we executed it and got so many kids and families involved,” Eliana Cortez ’25, a member of the Board’s Youth Committee, said. “I’m very grateful for everyone who pooled their resources to get it off the ground. We’re hoping to bring back the event next year, improve upon it, and reach more kids and families.”

The board’s youth committee seeks to reorient focus on youth employment opportunities and money management workshops during the spring term. 

In 2024, the Q House will celebrate its centennial as a community-galvanizing force in Dixwell. Alder Morrison said she plans to use the celebration to highlight existing programming, bestow honor upon Daniel Stewart and draw fresh faces to the building. 

A regal centennial logo, featuring royal blue, white and gold, will be displayed on all Q House merchandise for the next year. 

The Q House’s next board meeting is set to take place on Monday, Jan. 22