February 18 2013
"We offer one-on-one tutoring. We take people at any level and that stands us apart." -Sister Patricia Rogers, Dominican Center for Women
The Dominican Center for Women started back in 1995 by two Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters: Ann Halloran and Anne-Marie Doyle. Their goal was to provide guidance for the women of poverty in their community, spiritually, physically and educationally. "They started with spiritual engagement with women" says Sister Patricia Rogers. "Then the women wanted to become homeowners, and that's the first evolution of the Dominican Center".
With the help of financial counseling, 70 foreclosed homes were purchased in the neighborhood. "The next evolution was rehabbing the houses" says Rogers.
Sister Patricia Rogers is now the executive director of the Dominican Center. She spent her previous years as a middle and high school principal. While she realized she was ready to retire teaching at that level, she wanted to continue a career in adult education. That's what drew her to the Dominican Center.
The Dominican Center is housed in an old rectory, nestled between a church and a school. The rooms have been transformed to computer labs, study areas, private offices, language labs and mediation. The long dining room is set up as a community classroom, where residents in the Adult Education courses work one-on-one with their tutors. Sister Barbara Becker, a 49-year veteran of elementary education, sits with Mia, a grandmother that was motivated to overcome her dyslexia and return to school, so she could help her grandkids with their homework.
Each day, in between morning and afternoon classes, a community meal is cooked and shared at the Dominican Center. They are always looking for food and beverage donations.
"We pride ourselves on listening to what the [neighborhood] residents have to say and where they want [the center] to go" says Rogers. That's how the center has evolved to now offer separate classes for men.
To learn more about The Dominican Center's classes and mission, or how you can donate food, coffee or other items, visit their website at www.Domincan-Center.org