Every family in West Dayton should have access to better than minimum wage employment, a quality education and good and affordable food.

Many families are made up of single mothers working multiple jobs to put food on the table for their children and to keep the household afloat. They dream of a better life for themselves and their children but lack the opportunity to improve their economic situation. Wesley Center programs offer solutions that remove those barriers to opportunity. We equip women as well as men and seniors access the tools and resources needed to give those families a new opportunity to thrive!

Since its inception in 1966, more than 100,000 people have come to Wesley Center seeking resources and services to change their lives. Currently we strengthen families’ ability to be self-sufficient through the provision of services in three key areas: Education, Health and Wellness and Workforce Development

After fifty years of working with families in West Dayton, this is what we know:

  • Quality education plus better paying jobs with benefits plus healthy eating are key to strengthening families’ ability to avoid poverty. Financially stable families are better neighbors, civically engaged,
  • Creative strategies are necessary to address the unemployment rates in West Dayton that are higher than the city, county, state and national average; and where the population has employment challenges due to skill and education deficits
  • Children become lovers of reading when literacy and learning in general is delivered in a way that is innovative, fun and meets them where they are
  • Healthy births lead to healthy children who are able to learn and grow; accessing healthy foods, fresh foods and vegetables is critical for this to happen especially for African Americans families who often live areas identified as food desserts and experience infant mortality rates that are three times higher than other population of in the County or state

Wesley Community Center is a catalyst of change in an emerging neighborhood. Wesley Community Center is transitioning from being a place of refuge for those in crisis to a full service social service agency that meets families at the point crisis and moves them to the point of stability and self-sufficiency. As we have worked over the last few years to revamp our service to be reflection of the needs of our families, we are laying the ground work now for the next five years by improving our facilities, increasing our funding and expanding our network of partners to deliver innovative, client driven programs which empower those in need to help themselves and to rebuild the West Dayton community. We are focused on addressing the root causes of their challenges by providing services to relieve immediate issues and crafting plans in partnership with the client to restore the dignity and pride that comes from achieving self-sufficiency through hard work.

As evidenced by the Opportunity Map published by the Public Health Department of Dayton and Montgomery County and the Fitz Center of the University of Dayton Report for Westwood, access to jobs, healthy and affordable food and quality after school programs allude the residents living in the area. However, each report detailed ways and means to address each one. Using this information and Wesley Community Center’s 2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan, the Center has identified five objectives to be addressed through current and new programming:

Objective One:

Develop and implement a program for expecting parents or parents of small children to 1) Ensure all children are born healthy, maintain health and are kindergarten ready by age 5 and 2) Ensure their parents are employed, healthy and demonstrate good parenting skills

Information about Westwood Neighborhood

Objective Two:

Increased opportunities for employment or entrepreneurship in West Dayton

Program Goal Three:

Expansion of education services to Westwood area elementary schools and high schools with the intent of getting all elementary students (K-8) on grade level in reading and to position all high school students to successfully transition to work, military or college/technical school/certificate program

Program Goal Four:

Continued services to the elderly to help them maintain independence and remain in their own home

Program Goal Five:

Expanded access to fresh produce, fruits and vegetables and eating education

Statistics about Westwood and West Dayton

Population: 5,604

Families: 1,455

Female led families: Children (birth to 17): 1,333

Seniors (ages 65 and older): 930

Education level: 1,455 completed some college including bachelor’s and master’s degree level

Poverty level: 60% of families live above the poverty level

Employment rate:

Population: 6,600

Median household income in 2013:

Westwood:      $21,035

Dayton:           $28,965

Percentage of single-mother households (among all households):

Westwood:      35.4%

Dayton:           21.2%

Percentage of population below poverty level:

Westwood:      41.5%

Dayton:           33.8%

Percentage of married-couple families with both working:

Westwood:      67.5%

Dayton:           53.7%

*Sources: