In November 2003, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia opened the Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center’s doors to serve and engage the community and promote development. The Center brought new life to the then abandoned building, once famously known as the Starlight Ballroom.
With the support of the community, the help of donors and organizations, and the spirit of the church, the corner of Kensington and Lehigh Avenues no longer sat as an eye sore of rubble but as a new structure fully modernized. For seven years, the center ran under the leadership of Catholic Social Services. The Center saw the community engaged in sports, education classes, after-school programs, art programs, service opportunities, and more.
Stemming from their community commitment and hope to have the Center become a more effective and integrated resource for the Kensington community, Catholic Social Services transferred the management of the Center to Visitation BVM Parish in July 2010.
Today, the Community Center at Visitation (CCV) is embarking on an exciting new course with a renewed hope and dream guiding its steps-to facilitate a better quality of life and meaningful possibilities for our neighbors, and to become more integrated within the community of Kensington.
The Kensington District in Philadelphia is the poorest District in all of Pennsylvania and it is one of the 10 poorest Districts in all of America. Likewise, Kensington is the 2nd hungriest District in the USA and 70% of the children are obese which leads to development and social problems among the youth Crime in Kensington is triple the national average and it is considered the “Heroin Capital” of America. The neighborhood is riddled with crime, drugs and prostitution.