Northwest Neighborhoods - Charles House Neighbors in Action (CHNA) and J.O.S.A.N.A.

Northwest Quadrant - Charles House Neighbors in Action/JOSANA

School-17The official name and motto of the Enrico Fermi School 17 tells the story of the Charles House Neighbors in Action/JOSANA Neighborhood.

When the school opened in 1915, it was named for a Nobel Prize winning Italian physicist in recognition of the surrounding neighborhood's many immigrants from that country. In the 1960s and 70s, African-American and Hispanic families expanded the Neighborhood’s ethnic richness and School 17’s new motto became, “Our Diversity is Our Strength.” 

The early immigrants filled their yards with fruit trees earning this part of Northwest Rochester the nickname "Fruit and Nut Neighborhood." Many streets were aptly named Orchard, Orange, Grape and Walnut. Through residents’ efforts with other partners in community building, today’s CHNA Neighborhood is a community with a vision" characterized by mutual caring and support one dedicated to “safety and non-violence and neighborhood pride.

School_17The neighborhood encompasses some 30 blocks bounded by Lyell Avenue on the north, Brown Street on the east, Wilder Street on the south and Child Street on the west.

This neighborhood's dedication to community vitality is reflected in the CHNA’s weekly community roundtable meetings where representatives from Unity Health (Orchard Street Settlement), University of Rochester Community Health, School 17 PTA, Charles Street Settlement, Monroe Community College Community Building, ABC and neighborhood residents work to make visions reality.

Several early 20th century organizations that supported the community remain a force in the area today. Charles Street Settlement House, founded in 1917, helped new arrivals assimilate to their new American life. Another long-time neighborhood presence, the Campbell Street Recreation Center, which opened in 1935, adds to community life for both youth and adults. 

campbellRecMore recently, in 2000, a Community Health and Dental Center opened as part of the School #17 campus, providing year-round care. The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, established in response to a School #17 Study, continues a campaign to “Make Lead History” in neighborhood homes.

The community galvanized after the violent death of a young child in 2001. In the aftermath, residents created the Jay Orchard Street Neighborhood Association (JOSANA). Most recently, the Charles Settlement House expanded JOSANA into the Charles House Neighbors in Action (CHNA).  Most important, residents have hope that the memory of 10 year old Tyshaun Cauldwell continues to be honored through its community's transformation.

The neighborhood's landscape changes with each year. New homes have been added through a partnership between Flower City Habitat for Humanity and the Rochester Housing Authority. The list of improvements grows longer.

Religious life has a long history in the community from Italian Masses at St. Francis of Assisi to the Abundant Life Faith Ministry Church (Whitney Street), the Ark of Jesus Church (Jay Street) and the bi-lingual Light of the World Assembly of God Church (Child Street).

JOSANA Master Plan