History of the Booker T. Washington Center
In 1923, a group of black citizens interested in the welfare of the black race felt the urgent need of a community center in Erie, Pennsylvania and on January 2, of the year created an organization to achieve that goal. The members of the organizational committee were Harry C. Thompson, the Reverend H. Price, Sallie M. Parker, Doctor Clarence Cheeks, Juanita Cheeks, Effie Baxter, and Charles Franklin. Later that year, Frances Purdy and the Reverend P. C. Childs were added to this group. This body, with Mr. Thompson as its first president, formed the original Board of Directors of the institution to be known as the Community Center. Later that year, on September 11, 1923, the name of the institution was changed to the Booker T. Washington Center.
Shantel Hilliard, Associate Director
Shantel Hilliard was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. He attended Cathedral Preparatory High school, attended Mercyhurst College and received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in management in 2002. He went back to Mercyhurst College and enrolled in a Post Baccalaureate program and received his Human Resource Certificate, earning his MBA with a specialization in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2006.
Randi Ford, Administrative Assistant
Randi is glad to be apart of the Booker T. Washington Center and help to create a safe haven environment for many youth. Aside from Administration work she helps coordinate the after school program, summer of success program, and other youth related activities. A project she anticipates every year is working with St. Marks Church during the holiday season to coordinate a gift give-away for as many as 200 families.
Tina Marie Gilmore Finance Director
Tina M. Gilmore, Finance Director has been with the Booker T. Washington Center since January 2009. Born and raised in Erie, PA she graduated from Academy High School in 1987, and attended Penn State Behrend College, receiving her B.S in Accounting in 2003. Tina’s accomplishments include finishing college, her teenage son, and aside from working with BTWC wishes to become a Real Estate Agent. Tina enjoys spending time with family and friends, has education and world experiences which means most to her.
Tim Cook, Youth Program Coordinator
Tim Cook graduate of Penn State University - Behrend College graduated with a BS in Science Management/Economics in May of 1993. Born and raised in Erie, PA he attended
Academy High School class of 1988. Tim has been awarded several coaches awards and he is also a
Member of the Black Collegians Association. In the future he plans to be self-employed and enjoys helping young men who are willing to help themselves. When not at the BTWC he enjoys spending time with his daughter and friends.
Willie Gore, Americorps VISTA Youth Program Coordinator
Willie Andrew Gore, native of Erie Pennsylvania, graduated from East High School in 2006. He graduated second in his class with “Distinction” honors; maintenance of a 4.0 GPA. He was nominated as a member of “Who’s Who in American High School Students” and also received the R. Benjamin Wiley & Walter L. Osborne Scholarship Award in 2006.
Krystal Robinson, Public Relations/Program Coordinator
Krystal C. Robinson Public Relations/Program Coordinator is originally from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelors degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism from Clarion University May of 2009. In 2010, she relocated to Erie, PA working with the Girl Scouts of Western PA as a Leadership Facilitator. Since the start of 2011 she has been with the Booker T. Washington Center.