Community Learning Center celebrates grand opening
By BRIGID SWEENEY
The Robinson Community Learning Center (CLC) will provide a forum for learning and building bridges with the South Bend community, said speakers on hand for the center's grand opening Wednesday.
"It is important to focus not on the negative aspects of an area, but the positives," said Indiana third district Congressman Tim Roemer as he addressed community members and CLC staff. "This will be a place of new energy, light and hope."
The center offers services geared toward all age groups, ranging from tutoring and music lessons for grade school students to health screenings and Internet classes. The Gigot Center for Entepreneurial Studies also sponsors the Northeast Neighborhood Business Incubator at the CLC, which pairs aspiring entrepreneurs in the community with an undergraduate or MBA student mentor.
University President Father Edward Malloy emphasized life-long learning in his remarks to the crowd.
"One is never too young to learn, just as one is never too old to do so," he said. "This center will bring together people who deserve a warm context in which their God-given talents can be developed, whether they be small babes or post-retirement."
In order to help fulfill the center's mission of encouraging cooperative learning within the community, over $500,000 was spent on renovations and new equipment. The computer lab boasts 21 new computers connected to the Notre Dame server, complete with wireless Internet.
Center director Jay Caponigro stressed the significance of personal relationships at the Center along with the importance of technology.
"We place crucial importance on fundamental human interaction skills, in addition to the latest technological advances," he said. "Together, the people here will realize something about themselves and about others. They will learn through the process of listening and building respectful relationships that bind communities."
Caponigro said that the center was being dedicated in the memory of Renelda Robinson, a noted neighborhood leader.
"She was a woman whose presence in this community continues to touch the lives of people," he said. "She is the example after whom we model our work."
Four generations of Robinson's relatives were present for the ceremony, which included a special blessing and an anti-violence skit put on by children affiliated with the CLC in addition to the several speeches.
All News Stories for Thursday, February 22, 2001