UNITED COMMUNITY CENTER INC Overview
Target demographics: Founded in 1970 as a youth recreation center, the United Community Center has developed programs in response to community needs. With more than 40 years of experience providing educational and social welfare programs to nearly 15,000 residents of Milwaukee’s south side community each year, nearly 90% are racial or ethnic minorities and more than 40% live at or below the poverty level. The population served is: 80% Hispanic; 11% Caucasian; 6% African-American; 1% Native American; and 2% Asian.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 15,000
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: 3 hours per week - Volunteer to mentor a youth struggling academically and socially
3 hours per month - Volunteer to present a career session to middle and high school youth to promote higher academic achievement
3 hours per year - Volunteer to organize a company/community giving program of school supplies
Geographic areas served: Southeast Wisconsin
Programs: UCC has a long-standing tradition of addressing the academic and social needs of south side Milwaukee youth. The UCC Achievers Academy was launched in 2004 as a means to build Hispanic self-sufficiency by assisting Latino adolescents and youth to develop academic, leadership, and personal enrichment skills and prepare them for high school, higher education and beyond. The project provides guidance to students and graduates of UCC’s Bruce-Guadalupe Community School from middle school through high school and into college, encourages high academic and personal standards, and focuses on pre-college and career readiness activities. The Bruce-Guadalupe Community School (BGCS) is a K3-8th Grade charter school operated by UCC and located on the UCC campus. Currently over 100 students participate in the Achievers Academy. Services offered include:
- Guidance by the BGCS Guidance Counselor in course selection, high school exploration and selection. Students and their parents are guided in making application to the schools of their choice as well as site visits and meetings with school representatives.
- Identification, application, and participation in out-of-school experiential learning opportunities including academic camps (math, science, engineering, reading, and writing, etc.) as well as providing students with the opportunity to experience “dorm life” on college campuses.
- Pre-college preparation and application is provided to students and their parents. This involves studying for and completing SAT/ACT exams, researching financial aid opportunities and scholarship applications, and college entrance applications and exams.
- Leadership and character development opportunities such as service learning.
The Achiever’s Academy has a multi-faceted goal that is clearly related to UCC’s mission and includes fostering academic achievement, leadership and excellence in all students; valuing the knowledge of language and culture; providing students with a clear sense of identity; fostering a positive attitude toward learning and effective communication skills; and encouraging parental involvement as a vehicle for ensuring each student’s success. UCC has developed the program predicated by years of expertise in providing culturally competent services in a bicultural environment.
* Expansion of Bruce-Guadalupe Community School with additional classrooms for three and four year old Kindergarten, more classroom space to accommodate a new science lab for the elementary grades, and dedicated music education classrooms.
* Launch of the Un Nuevo Amanecer, A New Dawn Program, to address mental and behavioral health issues for Latino elderly.
* Opening of a new Men’s Residential Treatment facilitity, doubling our capacity to serve men seeking treatment to break free from substance use.
* Attracting more than 125 teens as volunteers for the Summer Enrichment Program providing role modeling for more than 300 youth.
* In a down economy, we helped 52 families achieve the American Dream of homeownership by becoming first-time home buyers.
Goals for the coming year are:
> Expand the capacity of Bruce-Guadalupe Community School through measured steps by building classroom space to accommodate an additional 200 students, bring our enrollment to 1,100 in the next ten years.
> Improve upon our services for the community’s elderly with an improved Senior Center that includes health services and a public computing center.
> Expand the “Super Mente” club for Hispanics experiencing signs of early memory loss.
> Achieve 100% high school graduation rate for alumni of Bruce-Guadalupe Community School.
> Stablize the neighborhood through homeownership and the Walker’s Square Neighborhood Development Initiative.