The next year saw the Ballard Center operate as a drop-in center for local black teens. The center operated in this capacity from 1969-1975, a period which coincided with social unrest in Lawrence. In 1975, The Ballard After-School and Summer Youth Program was developed. A year later, an academic component was added to the program.
Systematic growth proceeded over the following decades. In 1981, The Rainbow Child Development Center opened at the Ballard Community Center.
From the first public schools conducted in churches nearly 150 years ago to the present day, Lawrence’s commitment to its citizens has never diminished. The Ballard Center has become a symbol of this pledge, embracing change through the decades to continue a tradition of service to others. Today, the Ballard Center provides rent and utility assistance, a food and clothing pantry, affordable pre-K childcare, and other needs-based services to the families of our children and others in the community who are in need.