As a neighborhood community center, we provide support to moms, dads and kids, because we know that the power of change in a neighborhood comes from families working together. Therefore there are three primary goals for all programs at Beacon Place.
First: food and nutrition. It’s hard to learn and change if you are hungry, so proper dietary habits, food, nutrition, and health are critical components of all Beacon Place children’s programs.
Second, experience has shown that progress really occurs when there is a connected partnership between a support agency and the participants. Therefore, each program at Beacon Place has components that request a participant to share back in some way to foster commitment, responsibility, and self-reliance. These may be simple commitments such as helping to set up or clean up for a program, or it may be more significant such as serving as a program team leader. This expectation has created an amazing partnership and ownership feeling among our families. They understand that we are truly just neighbors helping neighbors and that Beacon Place is their community center.
Third, while there are many obstacles on the path to change, one of the greatest barriers in the 21st century is a lack of access to technology. Therefore, Beacon Place has a strong emphasis on academic support for children and families and weaves technology into all programs. Anytime of day you will encounter kids and adults all using technology in various ways – logging in for attendance, completing assignments, learning English or computer coding, or presenting what they have learned to others using projectors and smartboards. The only limit to what our families can experience and learn, is their ability to access information and Beacon Place provides that access.
All of this happens at a community center that sits in a house in southeast Waukegan, where we are neighbors helping neighbors, creating a stronger community together.