Our story begins in 1981 when Concordia Lutheran Church created its first child care center in response to the child care needs of struggling families in Chicago's North Center community. Three single mothers approached Concordia Lutheran Church in their neighborhood. Even though the women were not members, Concordia responded and its members got involved. Together they created award-winning early childhood, after school and summer camp programs.
More than 1,000 families have been served at this center with educational programs, professional staff, a fully equipped activity room, and a beautiful outdoor play-lot. A sliding tuition scaled ensured that all families had access to quality programs, regardless of income. The center even gained accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
In 2001, Concordia responded to need in Chicago's Avondale community, where there was only 1 preschool slot for every 56 children. Our vision attracted more than $9 million in local, state, federal, foundation, and private monies - enough to restore a vacant 3-story school building and rectory. With the help of community residents, local officials, and other friends, we opened the doors of our new Whipple location and began serving families in September 2006.
Today we are Concordia Place, a separate non-profit organization with a mission to "create involved communities where all our neighbors can gather, learn, and grow." We provide a place where varied economic, ethnic, racial, and faith backgrounds come together in an atmosphere of mutual appreciation and respect.
We have expanded both our physical and programmatic boundaries to serve more neighbors in even more ways.
We replicated our quality children's programs and now offer teen leadership programs, adult education, senior activities, and intergenerational programs. Our goal is to serve all of the generations that make a community strong.
About Concordia Lutheran Church
Concordia Lutheran Church created Concordia Place with an intentional focus on the needs of the community beyond its members.
Concordia, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), operates with the belief that the vitality of the Christian community lies in outreach to the larger community through education and service. Concordia Lutheran Church seeks to live out its mission of witness by serving the needs of the community in which it lives.
"The witness of this church in society flows from its identity as a community that lives from and for the Gospel. Faith active in love; ...It is in grateful response to God's grace in Jesus Christ that this church carries out its responsibility for the well being of society and the environment." ELCA Social Statement, The Church in Society.
You can learn more about Concordia Lutheran Church at www.concordia-chgo.org.