The Public is Invited to the Open House Celebration at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care-Bucyrus Campus
The call of African drums will ring out across Milwaukee’s near north side on Tuesday, September 15, inviting the entire community to join St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care at the open house for its newly constructed Bucyrus Campus at 2450 W. North Avenue. The celebration, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., gives the public a chance to explore the $21 million facility which will bring child and adult day care services for families and caregivers to the neighborhood.
“This is a building for the people, by the people,” says Sister Edna Lonergan, president of St. Ann Center, describing the 80,000 square-foot center designed and decorated to resemble an African village. “We’re blessed to be part of a great neighborhood that’s been too long neglected. There’s so much goodness, talent and potential here.”
The open house will begin with a 10 a.m. ribbon untying ceremony featuring a bow made of African Kente cloth. Remarks will be made by Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderman Russell Stamper and Sister Diana Debruin, associate director of Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. There will also be a multicultural blessing and libation ceremony. “We will pour water onto the land to bless and honor the soil, our ancestors and our elders,” says Diane Beckley, COO of the Bucyrus Campus. Other program highlights include a Native American eagle dancer and a performance by the Amazing Grace Choir made up of singers dealing with Alzheimer’s and memory loss.
Following the ribbon untying, the public is invited to take guided tours of the facility. “The walls were painted with the deep, rich, warm colors of Africa, and there are tropical plants and eucalyptus wood throughout,” says Lonergan. A donated collection of paintings by artists from the Republic of Congo is on permanent display at the center. Child day care rooms, built to accommodate 220 pre-school students, are named for African animals.
A full afternoon of entertainment will include the Jazzy Jewels Dancers, music by Danny Crivello and R&B vocalist Sharon Sprewer, both former Milwaukee Golden Idol winners, and songs and stories for the children by Michael Drake aka Mr. Pickles. DJs from Jammin’ 98.3 will do a live broadcast from the campus.
A community resource fair will continue throughout the day on the second floor of the building’s beautiful indoor intergenerational park. The fair will showcase the work being done in the community by organizations including the Alzheimer’s Association-Southeastern Chapter, Milwaukee County Department on Aging, Interfaith Milwaukee, Blessed Deliverance Baptist Church and more.
Food will be available at the St. Ann Center Cafe and at booths featuring specialties of Running Rebels, Coffee Makes You Black, The Big Eazy and Immy’s African Cuisine.
The open house celebration is being sponsored by Forward Community investments, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, BMO Harris Bank, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, Milwaukee County Department on Aging, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Orchard Street Press, Maggie’s Dad, Walnut Way, Jammin’ 98.3, PNC, DD&A, Direct Supply and One Hope Made Strong.
St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care thanks all the outstanding community-based organizations, businesses and donors who have supported the creation of the Bucyrus Campus. Future plans for the 7.5-acre campus include an Alzheimer’s Unit, medical and dental clinics, a nine-bed respite center, warm water therapy pool, community gardens and a 500-seat band shell.
To share your excitement about the event, visit St. Ann Center on Facebook at facebook.com/stanncenter. For more information, contact Casey Rozanski at (414) 977-5062 or Crozanski@stanncenter.org.