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'We are here for the community': SIUE East St. Louis Center offers services for the entire family

For 50 years, the center has been providing a wide set of resources to over 1,000 families

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Our 'A Way Forward' series focuses on organizations and programs making an impact in our area.

This week we are highlighting the SIUE East St. Louis Center.

For 50 years, the center has been providing a wide set of resources to over 1,000 families.

It's a one-stop-shop that provides an array of services from offering a free performing arts program to providing career counselors.

Executive Director, Timothy Staples, says, "We also provide free internet and provide job support services"

It predominantly offers pre-K thru 12 programs and it has seven Head Start centers. 

For high school students, it has enrichment classes and helps students obtain college education.

Credit: KSDK

But it also helps adults.

Staples adds, "We help with job searches, help families find resources for utilities, so it helps the whole family."

It offers dental and wellness clinics too.

Plus, it has a Veterans Upward Bound programs, serving military veterans in academic development.

Credit: KSDK

"East St. Louis gets a negative connotation," Staples adds. 

He wants to change that, knowing all the programs here are making a positive impact.

And they plan to expand. Donations can be one way to increase programming. But so would a helping hand.

"We also take volunteers especially those professional volunteers that can offer career advice to our students," Staples says. 

The biggest help is to tell others, that all the resources here, are available at their fingertips.

FULL DESCRIPTION OF SOME PROGRAMS AVAILABLE

Head Start/Early Head Start:

The SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start program serves more than 860 families and children birth through age five, including children with special needs, throughout St. Clair County. The program also provides services to expectant mothers. The program is housed in 12 early childhood centers, seven managed directly by SIUE staff and five collaborations. The program includes a rigorous school readiness program and provides comprehensive services, such as health/dental screenings and family engagement and support activities.

TRIO Upward Bound:

The SIUE East St. Louis Center manages six TRIO Upward Bound Program grants that serve 275 high school students from East St. Louis School District 189, Cahokia, SIUE East St. Louis Charter, Brooklyn and Madison, Collinsville, Granite City. Upward Bound is a federally funded college preparatory program for students in high school. The purpose of these programs is to increase the likelihood that low-income first-generation college students will graduate from high school, enroll in post-secondary education and obtain a post-secondary degree.

The Veterans Upward Bound Program: 

It serves military veterans from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County and surrounding areas. It is designed to assist qualified veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for success in a program of post-secondary education. The program provides assessment, encouragement and skill enhancement through mentoring, instructing and advising.

The Performing Arts Program:

For decades, the East St. Louis Center for the Performing Arts provided performing arts classes to students and community members to develop local talent and to cultivate a love of the arts. Classes often culminated in musical and theatrical productions.

Project Success:

An after-school, tutorial enrichment childcare program, Project Success serves 130-140 children each year. Project Success serves children 5-14 years of age who are in protective custody and are referred by the Department of Children and Family Services.

The program provides after-school tutoring, summer camp, enrichment activities, nutrition, field trips, athletics, music and dance to participating youth.

The SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School:

It's a school-of-choice for families in East St. Louis School District 189. Its mission is to prepare students to be career- and college- ready upon graduation. To achieve this mission, the CHS and its staff positively impact the educational and economic lives of East St. Louis youth.