Heart of Illinois United Way

 

COMMON PLACE ...where love works


QUESTIONS MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED ABOUT COMMON PLACE

1. WHAT IS COMMON PLACE?
A social justice/social service agency dedicated to eliminating the root causes of poverty, injustice and racism in Peoria.

2. HOW AND WHEN WAS IT STARTED?
By a group of people from various churches in 1967.

3. WHERE IS IT LOCATED?
In the center south side of Peoria between MacArthur Highway and Western Avenue with offices and some programs in the former Howett Street Christian Church Building. Other programs take place in three adjacent houses.

4. WHAT DOES COMMON PLACE DO?
COMMON PLACE has worked to encourage a lifestyle of love and concern for others. By recognizing the dignity and self-worth inherent in each person, we strive for elimination of the root causes of social injustices through educational programs. It is our vision to empower adults and children to enhance their self-esteem, attain self-sufficiency and to seek to serve others and their community. We work to achieve these goals by offering educational opportunities and encouraging the community to value education.

From 1967 - 2003, COMMON PLACE held preschool classes for 3- and 4-year-old children. More than 1800 children were loved and helped by enriching preschool educational experiences and the involvement of their parents in their early education. Preschool classes were discontinued in 2003.

The Home Improvement Program began in 1976 and has provided over 565 South Side low-income homeowners with necessary repairs to their homes. For many of those years, it provided work experience and carpentry skills to trainees as well; however, it is now necessary to subcontract with licensed professionals.

After school enrichment programs and tutoring are offered for students from kindergarten through high school. Among these programs are Promising Futures (K-2), Future Quest (3-4), Turning Point/Teen REACH (5-6), Extended Family (7-8), and Focus (9 –12), Summer Youth/Work Study, Summer Tutoring, and Summer Teen Employment Program & Service. These comprehensive programs help youth achieve goal-oriented behavior while addressing each child's needs. Stressing quality education, staff communicate with local schools and even attend parent/teacher conferences in order to optimally support each child’s learning. During the school year other activities are offered including Brownies and Jr. Girl Scouts, a Cub Scout Pack, a Boy Scout Troop and a 4-H group. Family Reading Nights, Cultural Tales celebrations, career/college exploration, library visits and field trips are important additional experiences for the young people.

Our Adult Literacy Program was begun in 1979 to help eliminate the problem of 16,000 English-speaking adults in Peoria who cannot read. Using various methods and materials, adults are currently obtaining this basic, life-enriching skill with the help of trained tutors on a one-on-one basis and in small groups. Lifeskills education in health literacy, nutrition, sewing, finances, and other basic living skills are also provided.

COMMON PLACE works to reduce hunger on the South Side through the Emergency Food Pantry and is a S.H.A.R.E. host site as well.

5. HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THE STAFF?
There are 7 full-time, 11 part-time or seasonal staff members, and 4 paid high school interns at COMMON PLACE. Training for previously unemployed persons is one of COMMON PLACE's goals.

Heart of Illinois United Way6. WHAT ARE COMMON PLACE'S SOURCES OF INCOME?
In 2009: Church sources comprised 11% of our support
Individual gifts were 20%
Businesses, foundations, groups were 14%
Government grants 34%
Self-produced, fund-raising events 7%
United Way 14%

7. WHO IS ON YOUR BOARD?
The COMMON PLACE Board is partly comprised of persons appointed by supporting congregations and denominations. Other members from the neighborhood and from the greater Peoria area are elected by the Board.

8. WHAT CHURCH DENOMINATION ARE INVOLVED?
Disciples of Christ, United Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, American Baptist and Lutheran (ELCA) churches are actively involved in the support of COMMON PLACE.

9. DO YOU USE VOLUNTEERS?
Thousands of individuals have been involved as volunteers at COMMON PLACE since 1967. Currently, volunteers are helping teach adults and youth to read, providing building repairs and improvements, providing office assistance, lending their technical skills and helping to raise funds.

 

Common Place Family Learning Center
514 S. Shelley Street, Peoria, IL. 61605
(309) 674-3315 - Phone    (309) 674-0627 - Fax
commonplace@sbcglobal.net

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