Wesley Community Center

Wesley Center Members Talk About Freedom During Juneteenth

Jun 24, 2018
Wesley Community Center

June 19, 1865 marks the day slavery was abolished in the United States. One hundred fifty-three years later, people across the country continue to celebrate this victory and recognize there is more work to be done.

Dr. James Dobbins, longtime Dayton Wesley Community Center member, says Juneteenth represents an ongoing need to fight for basic freedoms.

“It signifies a greater issue, which is that freedom is a process, it’s not just an event,” Dobbins says. “

Major Wendy Stiver with Dayton Police
Jerry Kenney

Montgomery County has some of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country, and data show the problem is often related to premature birth and low birth weight.

Now, the Dayton Police Department is trying something new as part of a larger countywide effort aimed at bringing infant mortality rates down. Police will be collaborating with an intensive home-visiting program that helps families with newborns and young children.  

Wesley Center To Celebrate Juneteenth This Weekend

Jun 15, 2018
People dance onstage at last year's Juneteenth Festival.
Wesley Community Center

June 19 marks the anniversary of the day slavery was abolished in 1865. Today, that anniversary is known as “Juneteenth". According to the Wesley Community Center’s Executive Director Yvette Kelly-Fields, the holiday started in Texas and is now a national holiday.

Nurse Elaine Patrick packs child-development and other educational materials into the back of her car. She visits new mothers and infants at home through the Help Me Grow Brighter Futures visiting nurse program.
Jess Mador / WYSO

State health officials are promoting visiting nurse programs as part of a statewide strategy to reduce Ohio’s infant mortality rate.


It’s persistently higher than the national rate, despite recent progress in reducing the number of sleep-related infant deaths.

Visiting nurses are a powerful tool to help more high-risk infants make it to their first birthdays, many Montgomery County public health advocates say.

“Our goal is to make sure every pregnant woman gets connected to some kind of service, particularly any one that can provide a visiting nurse after the birth of the baby, so they have a baby that's healthy,” Wesley Community Center Director Yvette Kelly-F
Jess Mador / WYSO

Montgomery County has some of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country. Data show the problem affects African Americans at all income and education levels much more often than whites.

Wesley Community Center
Wesley Community Center

In 1966 riots broke out in West Dayton that would affect the community for decades. Out of those riots was born the Wesley Community Center, which for the last fifty years has provided educational, workforce and healthcare services to local residents. They now serve more than 7000 people annually. 

In this interview with WYSO, Yvette Kelly-Fields talks about the center's history, mission and services. She also tells us how the center is celebrating their fifty-years of service to Dayton's west side.