SSJ Welcome Center History
On June 10, 2002, after months of work on zoning and other issues the Sisters of Saint Joseph became the proud owners of 724-726-728 East Allegheny Avenue in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. Soon the former funeral home and doctor’s offices would be transformed into the Sisters of Saint Joseph Welcome Center.
This transformation did not come easily. Months were spent demolishing the old and building the new. Volunteers helped to clean and refurbish the buildings. These volunteers included old friends as well as new friends from Albania, Guatemala, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. People of all ages, races and cultures worked together to transform the buildings into the Sisters of Saint Joseph Welcome Center. We witnessed a new world community on Allegheny Avenue as our multicultural volunteers worked side by side to help us.
In March of 2003 the Sisters of Saint Joseph Welcome Center officially opened its doors to focus on the needs of newcomers to our country, community and neighborhood. We offer classes in English, Citizenship, and Computer Skills. Social services are also offered for those who need help in navigating the health and education systems. We accompany our new friends to clinics, banks, and stores to help them to get acclimated to their new surroundings. We do whatever we are able to meet the needs of our friends as they begin their new lives in the United States.
Since 2003, the number of students and clients has increased. Therefore, we needed to find additional space for activities and meetings. The Sisters of Saint Joseph purchased the building next to them in 2014. Many donors and benefactors contributed to the renovations and helped make possible. On March 4, 2017 we celebrated the blessing and opening of our new offices and classrooms. We are delighted to have more space and more classes.