Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.
On January 20th, 1996 a small group of members of the Washington Park Homeowner Association had a meeting to discuss the future of the Washington Park community. The question was asked “what type of projects would you like to see in the Washington Park neighborhood?” One Mr. Alexander replied “A Resource Center that would assist in the areas of housing, food service, clothes and the general needs of the people. Ms. Nadine began working closely with the community, the Hollywood Police Department, attending the Memorial Healthcare System Coalition for A Healthy South Florida meeting to established trust back in the community. With the City of Hollywood support and Memorial Healthcare System and volunteers began to attend the neighborhood conference to learn even more about how to take better care of our neighborhood.
In 1982, Nadine and her husband moved their family to the Washington Park Community in Hollywood, FL. Today, they are proud to live in Washington Park, but this was not always the case. It was not uncommon for shooting, overdoses, prostitution, drug dealers/users, credit card theft, and police arrests and police chases throughout the neighborhood. And finding drugs in small plastic bags on their sidewalk.The neighborhood’s relationship with the Hollywood Police Department was challenging and one of mistrust and even with each other.
Not long after that, she began to notice three little sister needing her help. She began to pay someone to braid theirs hair. She gave them clean clothes to wear. She invited them to City events, to her house, to eat and to participate in various programs created just for them and children alike. She established a no cussing and backbiting policy as of today, all three girls went to college.
In 1982, because of what she seen in the neighborhood she decided to start an outreach program from the living room of her home.
In 1998, Nadine McCrea joined the Washington Park Homeowners Association, Inc.
In 2000, tired of the community not having a good relationship with the police department, she taken 25 young people ages 4 to 16 to meet the chief of police, noticing three little girls needing her help, youth of her community without enough activities and the needs of the faithful elders afraid to come out their homes. When the police department offers her funding for her youth crime watch group, she agreed to establish the first computer lab at the Washington Park Community Center for all to use. She encouraged her neighbors to work closely with the police department and the various departments of the city and attend as many meetings as possible.
The promised was kept much later.
In 2000 the City of Hollywood, promised the first Neighborhood Network Center would be place in Washington Park. The residents/leaders collaborate with the Hollywood Police Department and got their crime rate down; they supported the first center to be located in Liberia. The second one was placed out West off Johnson Street. The third one is located out East on A1A.
In 2004, with several Mayo Street neighbors, she established the non-profit organization “Community Enhancement Collaboration, Inc.” affectionately known as CEC. CEC launched a variety of programs that included a food pantry, clothes bank, referrals, bike to work, back to school supplies, child car seats, educational workshops, crime watch, toy drive, Thanksgiving and Christmas toys give-aways to name a few. She even created a “Spin the Community Wheel Game”, to teach about the various resources in the community. In addition CEC has established computer training/employment for the seniors and a summer job program for the youth. Nadine McCrea has work tirelessly in her community to help bridge the gap between the young, the old and the city as a whole to make the streets of Washington Park a much safer place. Not to mention the impact that donating over 1200 computers has had on the residence of Washington Park and the surrounding cities.
Ms. Nadine McCrea, was given the ultimate Thank you when she received a Certificate of Appreciation from President Barak Obama, thanking her for her many years of dedication, hard work and sacrifice. In 2007, Nadine was named City Citizen of the Year, by the Florida League of Cities Excellence Awards. Recently, she was named in The Miami Herald’s “In the Know” as one of five people you should know in South Florida.
In 2011, after faithful running the help center out of their home for several years, the CEC received a grant that helped them to relocate, where she along with her husband and hundreds of volunteers worked day in and night to enhance the community. CEC moved into their new headquarters, over 3000 sq. ft. space. Ironically it was located in the same area of interest, requested by Mr. Alexander and several Homeowners Association members back in 1996 on the corner of Washington Street and 441.
In 2013 CEC signed a 5 lease agreement and moved into this new location.
With the new construction completed on Wiley St. between 56TH and 57th Ave. housing 16 townhomes, 8 apartments, 2 duplexes, 5 new homes and a 1,300 sq. ft. activity center. This new activity center have become CEC and Washington Park HOA new home as promised by the City of Hollywood in this project. This center will be a part of our continuous effort to meet the needs of our community.
Community Enhancement Collaboration, Inc. (CEC) is now housed in the Washington Park Service Center, 5648 Wiley Street, Hollywood, FL 33023.