Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement
“Harlem is my home.”
“I am a native Harlemite, and grew up at 126th Street and 5th Avenue near Marcus Garvey Park. My mother was a teacher in the community. My grandfather was a minister in the community. I was raised in a household with my grandparents, my mother and my sister and brother.
As president and C.E.O. of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI), I feel that I am doing something very important that makes a difference in the lives of people who I know and who I’ve known all my life: friends, neighbors, elderly people, people who need a second chance. HCCI is an interfaith organization that does a lot of community development work here in Harlem. We work in workforce and real estate development. We also work in human capital development where we have programs that train people for various jobs. We also work in H.I.V. and AIDS education and outreach. We have immunization programs for young mothers, asthma prevention and about 1700 units of occupied housing. We have a computer clubhouse, teach computer graphics, and have a little recording studio and filming capabilities with animation and robotics.
My work is very rewarding. I personally feel like I am making a difference and I really think that’s the most important thing that I can do.
I’ve seen Harlem at its worst shape back in the 70’s after a lot of abandonment, a lot of people who were hooked on drugs, etc. But today, Harlem has a great reputation. Harlem is hot! I am happy for the change.”
Lucille McEwen is Harlem personified — first as a child of Harlem, and now as a supreme mother who has turned community pride into a profession of advocacy and empowerment. She earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, an M.B.A. from Baruch, and a B.A. in psychology from City College of New York. Ms. McEwen and the dedicated people of HCCI are the roots that stabilize and nourish the great tree that is Harlem.