Common Place Cuts Ribbon On Youth Program House

Renovations have been completed at Common Place’s Youth Program House.

A ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday marked the reopening of the house at 1518 West Millman in South Peoria.

Common Place also accepted a $5,000 Youth Opportunity grant from State Farm.

Alpha Media/Ed Hammond

“The house is our original founder’s home, Dick Tunks,” Common Place Executive Director Pam Rumba said. “The house became part of the literacy program and was a learning center.”

The house was closed last school year when it was discovered it was in need of renovations.

“Brand new bathrooms, the kitchen is now a craft center,” Rumba said. “It was just an older home. It had some of those internal things that needed to be repaired.”

Alpha Media/Ed Hammond

“It’s two-story, it has multiple classrooms. It has a reading center that’s upstairs,” Rumba said.

Alpha Media/Ed Hammond

However, the upstairs will not be in use until a fire escape is built for children’s safety.

Common Place Family Learning Center has focused on literacy and academic support for young people and their families since 1967.

The After School Youth Program school year begins Sept. 10 and is for children and youth from kindergarten through 8th grade.

“Our kids walk in after school. They come primarily from Roosevelt, Valeska Hinton, some from Treywn and Harrison,” Rumba said.

The children get help with homework, a hot meal and can participate in various activities from yoga to crafts. Common Place partners with Neighborhood House to provide the meals.

Alpha Media/Ed Hammond

Best of all, Rumba said, the cost for families is free.

“We are actively recruiting students from the schools,” Rumba said. “We’re visiting the back-to-school fairs.”

But, families sign up for the After School Program in person.

“They bring the forms in. We like to talk to the parents about what their responsibilities are becasue we really need the kids to be here in order to be successful. We partner with the teachers and we partner with the parents. We also talk to the teachers to find out what a child might be struggling in. We have a program called Saturday Free Tutoring, which is held from 9-11 every Saturday morning in the main building.”

Common Place Family Learning Center is located near the Youth Program House at 514 South Shelley in Peoria.

More information can be obtained HERE.

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