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To maintain the values of the historical settlement house movement by engaging in dialogue with community residents and responding to the communities we serve. Our success is measured by how well residents achieve the goals they articulate for themselves, their family and their community. We help residents develop shared resources and advocate for social change so that they may prosper through economic development.
For a map of our neighborhood locations and facilities, visit our Locations page.
Founded by Graham Taylor in 1894, Chicago Commons was one of the original settlement houses serving primarily immigrants on the city’s northwest side. As a way of fostering community and building opportunities for the neighborhood’s residents, Chicago Commons opened one of the city’s earliest kindergartens in 1897. The success of this school provided cause for expansion. Soon after, Commons began to offer programs for individuals of all ages through clubs and classes; and provided an open forum for discussion of local community events.
Over the past 116 years, Chicago Commons has continued its commitment to the Chicago communities it serves by offering programs designed to foster involvement and success. Education remains a vital part of our mission. The nationally recognized West Humboldt Education Training Center opened in 1991, and provides an excellent resource for adult education and family literacy needs. Our Child Development programs have garnered national attention through our implementation of the Reggio Emilia approach to educating young children, which began in 1993. Chicago Commons was one of the first in the nation to systematically implement the principles of this approach with children from low-income families.
Today, Chicago Commons continues to strengthen our communities by building trusting relationships with our neighbors and other organizations in the area. Our Adult Education and Senior Care programs offer community members a sense of belonging, while our Common Ground for Youth program provides the resources our youth need to foster leadership skills for a successful future. Our focus continues to be partnering with residents, schools, other social service agencies, community organizations, churches and political leaders to address quality-of-life issues prevalent in the neighborhoods we serve, and beyond. The ability of our communities to solve their own problems depends upon the trusted relationships that evolve, including the ones that Chicago Commons, itself, forges through our Community Building efforts. We lead, support and participate in community projects to specify problems and develop proactive responses to overcome poverty, discrimination and isolation.
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