Ross Community Center Offers Anniversary Year Activities

The Ross Community Center located at 1110 W. 10th Street in Muncie. Photo by Mike RhodesThe Ross Community Center located at 1110 W. 10th Street in Muncie. Photo by Mike Rhodes

By Molly Flodder—

MUNCIE, IN—The 50th anniversary year of the Ross Community Center is underway and events are rolling out for neighborhood and widespread celebration. The center, located at 1110 W. 10th Street in the Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhood, is focused on advancing education and lifelong learning, health, and wellness.

The kick off event of the anniversary year will be “Collecting Memories/Community Call Out,” on Saturday, April 20 at 3:00 p.m. at the center. This community curating event will be a time for anyone in the area to share historical information, photographs, and testimonials about the Ross Community Center.

 “We wanted to talk about the anniversary to the ‘Lost Muncie’ Facebook group and see what kind of response we would get,” said board member  Peggy Lewis, a member of the anniversary committee. “More than 85 people reached out with information, photographs, and special memories about the center over the years. We are even learning more than we already knew about Garland E. Ross from members of his family. He was the man for whom the Ross Community Center was named.” The April memory-collecting event will help staff and volunteers record historical information. The last event of the year will be a Christmas party for the neighborhood in mid-December.

In between, the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, program participants, neighborhood, and larger community will participate in celebrations to review the history of the center and the neighborhood, mark the accomplishments of the organization, and give people the opportunity to support the work which goes on there.

People like Jason Minton, have shared that their lives were changed because of their participation at the Ross Community Center. A lifelong resident of Muncie, Jason is a teacher in Anderson and grew up just three blocks from the center. One of five, he and his two brothers played basketball, baseball, football, or just “hung out” at the Ross Community Center. “It was our refuge growing up,” said Jason. “I almost lived there. It was a safe place, and my Mom knew I was there. It was a place of comfort where I could just play.”

In those days, the Ross Community Center was the center of Jason’s life and, looking back on his growing up, his graduation from Southside High School, and his becoming an adult, it was an important component. “The Ross Center is dear to my heart,” he said. “Today it has grown, looks so inviting with all the sports fields, and with all it has to offer there is just so much going on.”

Susan Johnson, board member and chair of the fundraising committee, said, “This anniversary period is not focused on huge community-wide fundraising goals, but on opportunities for people to get to know the Ross Community Center and to mark its decades-long commitment to the Muncie community.”

An ice cream social on Saturday afternoon, June 8, complete with ice cream and lawn games, will welcome many visitors followed by an  international fair in September, the headlining 2024 event.

According to Johnson, “Any nonprofit always wants to give people an opportunity to make financial donations of any size. But this special year, people who have never donated to the center, will have a ‘$50 for 50 years’ donation opportunity. New donors may give $50.00 to celebrate the anniversary and be recognized for their generosity if they so desire.” See the website at

Already underway, a Ball State University public history class taught by Dr. Wendy Soltz is developing a historical walking trail showing places in the Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhood that were important in the past. There will be information about that trail and its unveiling at the April Collecting Memories event as well as the June Ice Cream Social.

Primarily a recreational center in earlier years, now the Ross Community Center displays its philosophy on lifelong learning through classes, activities and community events on a campus including three baseball diamonds, a soccer field, and a playground.  Among RCCI’s services is a bi-weekly food market at which families may pick up food, including meat and fresh produce. In addition, the center offers early childhood education, out-of-school programming, English as a Second Language, and Spanish classes, as well as sports and Judo, among many more programs.