By Carla Branch and James Cullum
In 1939, Alexandria was a very different city than it is today. While Hopkins House has grown, it still fulfills the same mission in the same community where it began.
“We never wanted to be the biggest agency we just want to provide quality services to families and children,” said J. Glenn Hopkins, president of Hopkins House. “Tonight we are here to celebrate and say thank you to all of the dedicated volunteers and alumni of our program.”
More than 200 people came to Alexandria’s Weston Hotel to celebrate with Hopkins and the Board of Trustees. Politicians extolled the virtues of the programs that Hopkins House offers and Vice Mayor Kerry Donley passed his hat and asked guests to dig a little deeper in this time of economic difficulties.
“We need to support this fine program so that it can continue to serve Alexandria’s children and families,” Donley said.
When he got his hat back, people had done as he asked and it was filled with contributions. After that, it was time to dance to the songs of Linda Clifford. The evening was filled with fun for a good cause.
About Hopkins House
Started by a group of teachers following the closing of Alexandria’s only nursery for colored children, Hopkins House was formally established on Aug. 9, 1939, with the adoption of its constitution and the naming of the new organization in the memory of J. Milton Hopkins, the City’s only African-American physician. Hopkins died in July, 1927.
Hopkins House opened its doors at 517 Gibbon Street after rec eiving a grant of $95.67 from the Alexandria City Council. The Allexandria Community Chest, a precursor to the United Way, followed with a grant of $1335.
“Hopkins House was like a second home,” said Valeria Henderson, one of the first children to attend the program in 1939. “We went from school straight to Hopkins House. All our friends were there and we could do our homework together, talk and have fun.”
The organization’s programs are divided into two categories: (1) Early Care & Education
Programs: Infant centers for babies ages six weeks old to 16 months, preschools for children ages 16 months to three years and, kindergarten preparation for children ages 4 to 5 years old and (2) Family Education Programs: Financial literacy and homeownership workshops for adults ages 18 years and older, family literacy and fatherhood activities for fathers and father figures and leadership training for parents.
Last year, Hopkins House provided services to 223 unduplicated children, youths and adults.