Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Washington Parks & People's Riverside Center Celebrates Reopening

CAUSES was on hand to help celebrate the reopening of the Washington Parks & People's Riverside Healthy Living Center on the evening of Dec. 8, 2014. Along with CAUSES, a host of other partners were on hand, as well as Mayor Vincent Gray, and dozens of community residents.

"This center can become a hub for this community," explained Executive Director Steve Coleman.  "We've come a long way. We've still got a little further to go, but we've got a lot to celebrate."

Site of the historic nightclub where Marvin Gaye first performed professionally, the newly restored Riverside Healthy Living Center is owned and operated by Washington Parks & People as a hub of park-based community revitalization, health, and peace. For the past 14 years, Parks & People has led the community partnership to transform Marvin Gaye Park as a model for the entire city, using the park to advance public and environmental health, urban forestry and agriculture, youth development, fitness, arts and culture, and job training.

"They said what's been done here could not be done!" said an enthusiastic Mayor Gray. "This is a focal point where people can come and celebrate what's happening around this neighborhood."

This particular location in Marvin Gaye park was previously more known for its crime and drug activity, but with the help of partners and the community, the center was transformed; and now, the Riverside Center serves the community in a variety of ways. It's a volunteer hub, green job training center, bike repair station, health and fitness space, youth center and model urban food hub. CAUSES has partnered with WP&P on several initiatives in the past, and will continue to do so in the future, including the upcoming holiday cooking class which will be hosted at the newly renovated center Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, by CAUSES Chef T. Henson, Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health. In addition to cooking demonstrations, the free course will cover sanitation, knife skills, food safety and healthy menu planning. Learn more.

"I am so happy to be here today, and to be a partner of Washington Parks & People. The Riverside Center brings so much to the community--the proof is all of you showing your support tonight!" CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara told the community, shortly before the ribbon-cutting.

The Washington Parks & People's Riverside Healthy Living Center is located at 5200 Foote St., NE, Washington, DC 20019. For more information, please visit

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