Robinson Center joining with Boys and Girls Clubs to tackle learning loss amid the pandemic

Author: Erin Blasko

Teacher Meli Bandera from Ameri Corps plays with Ahmed Abdelaziz in the new preschool space at the Robinson Community Learning Center. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

The University of Notre Dame Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) is joining with the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County to support STRIVE, the Boys and Girls Clubs’ new after-school program to combat learning loss in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In collaboration with the South Bend Community School Corp., School City of Mishawaka, John Glenn School Corp. and Career and Success Academy, STRIVE will offer free after-school math, literacy, social and emotional learning and career and college readiness support to more than 1,700 local K-12 students this fall.

The Boys and Girls Clubs currently serves about 600 students.

The RCLC, for its part, will train literacy tutors to serve at each of the 23 program sites and implement Take Ten, its conflict resolution program for kids and adults, at each of the sites.

It will also serve as one of 12 new program sites along with the Notre Dame Center for Civic Innovation.

In addition to supporting its overall mission around education and community engagement, STRIVE builds on the RCLC’s existing relationship with the Boys and Girls Clubs, which includes past partnerships around tutoring, Take Ten and the Robinson Shakespeare Company. 

The RCLC also places AmeriCorps members with the Boys and Girls Clubs through the RCLC AmeriCorps Program, which supports a variety of organizations and programs that serve underrepresented youth and adults in northern Indiana.

“This is a wonderful example of organizations with track records in certain areas coming together to share their strengths and serve the greater community,” said Jennifer Knapp Beudert, manager of the RCLC.

In addition to the RCLC, other STRIVE partners are LOGAN, MindfulU, Oaklawn’s Partnership for Children, Rise Entrepreneurship and Riverbend Math. Financing for the program is courtesy of a $7.9 million grant from Indiana’s newly established Student Learning Recovery Grant Program and Fund. It will run for two years.

“This program will enable us to have a transformational impact in our community in a way we’ve never had before,” said Jacqueline Kronk, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs. “The RCLC has been critical in our programming and growth for many years, and it was imperative to us that we continue to build on this partnership to ensure success for the kids who need us most right now.”

Established in 2001, the Robinson Community Learning Center is an off-campus educational initiative of the University of Notre Dame, offering a variety of programs for children and adults, including a fully licensed preschool program, as well as classes, clubs and lectures for seniors.

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Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127,