Our Story

Beacon Place…

The big blue house giving hope to dreams.

Beacon Place is a community center in southeast Waukegan with programs for kids and adults that allow them to see a path toward their own brighter tomorrow by building the life skills they need, to achieve the dreams that they want

Established in the fall of 2012 by a group of dedicated and inspired individuals who recognized a significant need in southeast Waukegan and decided to do something about it. In the spring of 2013, the founders of Beacon Place acquired an abandoned home at 603 McAlister in Waukegan that they envisioned would become a beacon to the neighbors, becoming a local community center that would deliver programs focused on food and nutrition, overall health, academic support and life skill development. With the belief in the power of neighbors helping neighbors, these volunteers listened closely to the needs of the families in their community and brought them programs and support that have allowed the people of the community to see a path to new opportunities in their lives.  

 Our Mission:

Beacon Place is inspiring and guiding our neighborhood’s children and families toward a brighter tomorrow.

More than 90% of the kids in our neighborhood have never left Waukegan. Seeing a brighter tomorrow means that they have to see a bigger world. At Beacon Place, we believe that we can bring the world to our families – through programs, experiences, and opportunities that open up a door to a brighter tomorrow.  

The core programs at Beacon Place each foster commitment, responsibility, self-reliance, and require a commitment from the participant to give back. This creates a partnership that goes beyond a hand out and becomes a true hand up. It is our firm belief that Beacon Place serves as a springboard for inspiration and guidance but the real change comes from the individuals themselves. The families in our programs see their own vision of opportunity and they work toward the change that they seek.

Our Vision:

Beacon Place families will live more fulfilled lives and positively impact the community around them. 

All of the programs and support offered through Beacon Place are provided at the Beacon Place Community Center, 603 S. McAlister Street in Waukegan, Illinois, or through extension sites best suited for specific programs.

The goal of each Beacon Place program is to provide enriching and fulfilling experiences that allow the participant to grow both as an individual as well as a part of the broader community. It is our hope that the families in our area will see their own personal path toward a brighter tomorrow and while achieving that dream, create a systemic change in their community that creates a brighter future for the entire neighborhood.

Our success at Beacon Place will never be determined by what the kids and families we serve accomplish, but instead their success will be measured by what they were willing to attempt because of the experiences that they have gained.


 Beacon Place, inspiring a brighter tomorrow through a new experience today.

Our Values:

Empowerment: Feeling the power to set my own course
Collaboration: Working together to create the best for all
Optimism: “I can…”
Accountability: Being responsible and “owning” my actions
Integrity: Being authentic, honest and open
Inclusiveness: Welcoming and accepting others that are different from ourselves


“Beacon Place changed my life.”

“Beacon Place is like a second home to us.”

“I just wish Beacon Place had existed before, maybe our neighborhood would be different now.”

 These are the voices of Beacon Place: kids and adults who have been a part of programs that have changed their lives, changed their families, and changed their community. Take a look and listen to the kids and families share how Beacon Place has become a bright spot in their world that is just now starting to shine a bit brighter.




Beacon Place began in 2012 under the vision, guidance, and dedication of the following founding members and volunteers:

Diane Archibald

Linda Benge

Mary Jane Dybas

Gary Eimerman

Wil Guilianelli

Scott Guziec

Barbara Karacic

Karen Kolb

Betsy Larson

Fran Prell

Gene Sekel

Peggy Talbot