The sixties were times of great change. Cultures clashed, and optimism and promise were born. Our Northern Kentucky communities were in transition as long-time residents were moving out to the suburbs and in their place, began a migration of people with little financial means, most from Appalachia. As economic night was falling in the settlements and hollers of the Appalachians, people were confronted with two options; scraping out a living in the coal mines or moving north in pursuit of work and a better life for their families.
These mountain communities were close knit with systems of support from extended family members who were quick to lend a helping hand in the time of need. As families found themselves in their new home in Northern Kentucky, some needed a little help getting settled in a new urban community while others faced the more difficult issues of unemployment and poverty. No agencies or community centers existed to lend the support and assistance these families needed.
One person, Reverend Bill Neuroth, the assistant pastor at Corpus Christi Church in Newport’s West End saw the need and responded to it. In 1966, he founded what was called the Brighton Street Center in a small storefront on the corner of 8th & Brighton Streets. In 1968, a college student named Bob Brewster began volunteer work at the Center. A few months later he became the Center’s first full time employee, and in 1969 he became Executive Director. In 1970, Brighton Center became an official United Way agency.
Since that time, Brighton Center has certainly expanded the programs and services that are offered in an effort to continue to meet the needs of the community. We are one of the region’s most comprehensive agencies and have earned a national reputation for cutting edge initiatives and pioneering approaches that build on the people, physical assets, and hopes of our community. In 2009, United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Local Initiative Support Corporation recognized Brighton Center as a Center for Financial Stability for our uniquely comprehensive, results oriented programming. This is a role that we take very seriously and intentionally have fostered and developed – particularly since the spring of 1994 when our mission became creating opportunities for individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency. We did not come to this position by chance, but have arrived here through an ongoing commitment to our mission, deepened by unfailing service to those that we serve.
The Center strives to turn obstacles into possibilities through community efforts forged in our commitment to self-sufficiency and driven by programs rooted in community values and finding proactive solutions. The history can never be summarized by numbers and statistics alone, not as long as there are people and stories. Stories of a homeless teenager who came through our Homeward Bound Shelter who is now a college graduate; a family who finally has a safe and decent house to call their own where their children can grow; or a person trained as a medical assistant through our Center for Employment Training proud to be in a job where they can stand on their own two feet.
Brighton Center is more than buildings, programs and accolades. We are proud to say our most enduring legacy is the hope and potential we have unlocked for hundreds of thousands in Northern Kentucky throughout our dynamic history.