Robinson Community Learning Center Holiday Gift Auction moves online amid pandemic

Author: Erin Blasko

Celine Marcos and Samantha Musleh roll out a rug at the new Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) in South Bend. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

The Robinson Community Learning Center will host its annual Holiday Gift Auction remotely this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The event will take place online at from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5. Proceeds will benefit youth programming, including after-school tutoring and the Robinson Shakespeare Company.

Auction items include a wide range of themed gift baskets, Notre Dame merchandise and gift cards to local businesses, as well as unique items such as a dinner for four at the Morris Inn, Notre Dame wood etchings created by the IDEA Center FabLab, Chicago Blackhawks memorabilia and made-to-order men’s shoes by Wolf and Shepherd.

In addition, participants will have the opportunity to purchase votes as part of an online competition among current and former Notre Dame and RCLC staff for a role in the Robinson Shakespeare Company’s spring production of “As You Like It.”

Bidding will begin at 12:01 a.m., Nov. 29 (Sunday), and end at 6 p.m., Dec. 5 (Saturday). Registration is required.

Last year’s auction raised more than $18,000.

“There was never any doubt about whether or not the Holiday Gift Auction would take place this year. The only consideration was how it could be done safely,” said Tyonne Johnson, youth program director at the RCLC. “Moving to an online platform was quite a change, but a necessary one for such an important event. We have been able to provide youth programming that truly makes a difference in the lives of many children, and that would not be possible without the support we receive through our fundraising efforts.

“Many have reached out to convey their excitement about still being able to participate in our long-standing tradition,” Johnson continued. “We are pleased to be able to provide this opportunity for community involvement again this year.”

Established in 2001, the RCLC is an off-campus educational initiative of the University of Notre Dame. The center offers regular events and programming, including the Robinson Shakespeare Company and Take Ten, for youth and adults, in addition to a fully licensed preschool.

The center moved into a newly built facility at Eddy Street Commons earlier this year.

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