The Robinson Community Learning Center Celebrates its 14th Anniversary

Author: Catherine Ake

Robinson Shakespeare Company

By Catherine Ake

The University of Notre Dame’s Robinson Community Learning Center celebrates its 14th anniversary on Friday February 20th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the RCLC. Father William Lies and Mayor Pete Buttigieg will offer remarks, and awards will be presented to adult and youth learners, volunteers, and community partners. Two Notre Dame vocal groups, Harmonia and Echoes, will perform at the celebration.

Robinson Shakespeare Company members Brian LeBron-Williams and Paul Ferguson will also provide entertainment. They will recite the Shakespeare Monologues they are presenting at next month’s State Monologue Competition. 2015 marked the 13th of the Robinson Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) productions with a cast ranging from 3rd through 12th grade students. The Company produces two Shakespeare plays every year, and sends select students to a state-wide monologue competition. The RSC was the subject of Notre Dame’s Student Film Festival documentary Much Ado After School, and won The Audience Choice Award. There will be a viewing of the documentary at the anniversary celebration.

Since its founding in 2001, the RCLC has expanded to reach over 500 adult and student participants each week, and its outreach programs impact thousands of South Bend/Mishawaka youth every year. The Center boasts 300 weekly college student volunteers who tutor and mentor the RCLC students, and many community volunteers who support the RCLC’s efforts. 

The Center provides local students with numerous programs to help them develop educational and cultural knowledge. This year, the RCLC’s Afterschool Program provided seventy students daily tutoring and enrichment activities. The program sent twenty students to Washington, DC to enhance their knowledge of American history. The RCLC’s Literary Corps tutored one-hundred and fifty elementary school children across six different locations.

Notre Dame’s Center for Arts and Culture’s Afterschool Tutoring and Arts Enrichment Program, partnered with the Crossroads Gallery and Segura Studio, offers students in grades 1-4 daily literacy tutoring combined with the opportunity to interact with world class artists and artwork.

The RCLC Youth Entrepreneurs undertook ongoing problems facing South Bend. Students travelled to Chicago and presented their proposals for local entrepreneurship ventures to Deloitte consultants. The consultants worked with the students to hone their proposals before they presented them to the Mayor of South Bend.

The RCLC’s TAKE TEN program, promoting non-violence in schools, touches sixteen local schools and seven local agencies. Over 2000 children have been taught to turn away from violence, and to instead TALK IT OUT, WALK IT OUT, WAIT IT OUT.

“None of [the RCLC’s programs] could be accomplished without the strong relationships developed over the past fourteen years. It is impossible to overestimate the impact of the 300 college student volunteers that participate in RCLC programming, and of the many partners that have collaborated with us to provide ongoing educational opportunities for our community” said Jennifer Knapp Beudert, Manager of the Robinson Community Learning Center.