The Learning Center, serving the North Lawndale and Little Village communities of Chicago, supports adults in their pursuit of an educational path to more confident and effective living.
Adults can learn and have a right to quality education. Education is liberating. Education is empowering. Inclusive education creates a path to justice and peace.
In 1983, lay members of St. Luke Parish in River Forest, IL and sisters of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation established the House of Connections in the former convent of Blessed Sacrament Parish. It served as a resource in the Lawndale community for adult education, social services, and legal assistance. For sixteen years, Connections served the community in these multiple ways, with adult education growing in significance as the chief need for the people in the area. In 1999, the Board of Directors of Connections engaged in a strategic planning process. This process resulted in clarifying the main focus of the House of Connections: adult literacy education. Supportive services and the involvement of the community were retained as essential elements of our educational goals. The purpose of Connections was defined in future terms as: “educating adults for effective personal lives, productive employment, and positive contribution to the community.” A name change reflected the center’s clarified focus and history: The Learning Center/House of Connections.
During the planning process of 1999, the value of volunteer tutors was noted and a plan for significantly increasing tutor numbers at The Learning Center was created. The center received its first Secretary of State Adult Volunteer Literacy Grant in FY 2000. Ever since, enrollment has more than doubled; student retention has improved; and reading, math, and English comprehension scores have risen. Volunteer tutors have made the difference. We are fortunate to attract and retain high quality tutors.
In June 2005, with the merge of Blessed Sacrament and St. Agatha’s Parish, The Learning Center joined the Youth Center and the Food Pantry/Social Services Program in retaining essential services in the community. The Learning Center moved into and renovated the former parish rectory. We are proud to provide a respectful, beautiful, peaceful, and professional atmosphere for adult learning.