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The Carole Robertson Center is defined by the children and families we serve.
Our belief in community, dedication to developing local leadership, respect for diversity, commitment to education, and the value we put on developing relationships with individuals and families provide the basis for the work that we do. The success of our programs is crucial to those we serve and to those who provide their generous financial support.
Ana Lopez, mother of Early Childhood Education, School Age, and Youth Alternatives Program participants and Carole Robertson Center Board Member
"Every day, I try to demonstrate to my children the importance of education. I want to show them a positive attitude and that I love them. The Center helps me be there for my children. They’ve shown me how to be a good parent, a better parent, and an understanding parent. The Center has been instrumental in helping me help my children. My children have great self-esteem—they love themselves, love others, and respect others—all things I want them to do. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Center, and I have enjoyed seeing it grow as I, too, have grown."
Alma Tirado, mother of School Age and Youth Alternatives Program participants and former Carole Robertson Center Assistant Teacher
“When I left Mexico, I never dreamed I would earn a college degree. I found a job and worked hard to support my children, but I felt empty.”
In Chicago, Alma Tirado found out about the Carole Robertson Center. Her four children have participated in almost every program the Center has to offer from early childhood education through youth programming. Alma joined the staff of the Carole Robertson Center a few years later.
“With the Center’s support and encouragement I achieved over 30 hours of college credit while working full-time, and got well on way to my Associate’s degree. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.”
Alma has now moved on to a new employer, taking her goal of earning her college degree with her while remaining an active parent leader at the Center. Her four children still attend the Center.
“Before, I looked at the future, and it was dark. Now it is bright. It’s bright because I know that no matter what happens, we are never going to start from the bottom again.”
Latice Triplett, Early Childhood Education Program graduate and current School Age Program participant
Levatte brought her daughter Latice to the Carole Robertson Center’ Early Childhood Education Program when Latice was three years old. Latice has Down’s Syndrome, which brings a range of special needs. Latice was not speaking when she came to the Center and had difficulty expressing her needs. Levatte, a single working parent, brought a range of worries and concerns with her when seeking care for her daughter. Like every parent, Levatte needed a safe and stable place for her daughter to be cared for so she could work. In addition, Latice worried how other children would react to Latice, if the classroom environment could meet Latice’s needs, and if staff would have patience and love to share with her special daughter. Levatte took a chance at the Carole Robertson Center.
In her six years at the Center, Latice has blossomed. Her speech has developed well, her memory has improved, and she now attends public school where she is generally ahead of the other children in her special education class. After school each day, and all day in the summer, Latice continues to attend the Carole Robertson Center. Latice has a place to go where people care about and respect her. She benefits from staff and children who can recognize her gifts and see her strengths. Latice has a bright personality, making everyone that she comes in contact with smile. She shares her likes and dislikes, loves to listen to music, and enjoys dancing.
Just as Latice has grown, so has Levatte’s relationship with the Carole Robertson Center. Levatte is an active parent who participates in activities and offers her input and advice. Levatte considers the Center a source of strength and support too. Levatte comments, “I believe that Latice is going to exceed everyone's expectations. She calls the Center home, and so do I. Home is where your family is, and the Center is the family we never had.”
Harris Bank, Corporate Volunteer Group, Holiday Gift Giving Project Sponsor
The employees of Harris have supported the children of the Carole Robertson Center in one way or another for more than twenty years. Every year, Harris employees sponsor 300 children at the Center through the Holiday Gift Giving Project. Harris also has made cash contributions to the Center, and employees participate in various volunteer projects at the Center. Last summer, one of these projects included Harris’ President and CEO Ellen Costello. Harris’ Community Affairs office organized the bank’s second annual All Employee Volunteer Day and partnered with the Carole Robertson Center. Team Leader, Marc Romito, shares his thoughts.
"Harris is extremely community oriented, and we want to ensure that our volunteer efforts benefit our local communities, and the Carole Robertson Center is a perfect place for us to contribute our time and skills as well as live our brand, “We’re Here To Help.””
Harris’ Business Banking Development Program Trainees, led by Marc volunteered in the Center’s Early Childhood Education a few times last year.
“We are certain we made a positive impact on the students. The children really seemed to appreciate our energy and enthusiasm, and by the end of the visit there were hugs and long goodbyes, and the children made us promise to come back (which we did, and plan to do again!).”
Harris’ volunteering benefits not only the children and families of the Carole Robertson Center, but Harris’ employees as well.
“The best part of the day was the feeling we all shared that we knew we made a difference in the children’s lives, if just for one morning. I know the good feelings we carried with us that day will continue to spark my interest in continuing to volunteer for this and other opportunities. It was inspiring to see the dedication of the teachers, volunteers and staff members at the Center. Whenever I think that my job is hard, I will remember how much I admired the classroom teachers who worked so hard to help the students learn and play in a happy and healthy environment.”