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Robinson Center celebrates ninth anniversary

Carly Landon | Monday, March 1, 2010

For the past nine years, Notre Dame faculty, staff and students as well as members of the South Bend community have volunteered their time to better their lives of local children at the Robinson Community Learning Center. 

The Center, an off-campus educational initiative sponsored by the University, celebrated its ninth anniversary Friday afternoon and gave thanks to the support of its volunteers.

Speakers at the event included University President Fr. John Jenkins and South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke.

Jay Caponigro, the founding director of the RCLC, was officially appointed to the position of the Director of Community Engagement for the University, a promotion effective March 1. 

No announcements about his replacement at the RCLC have been made yet.

Friday’s festivities also included the recognition of various community volunteers and Notre Dame faculty and students who work to further the Center’s ventures.

In addition, the James Kapsa Take Ten Award was presented to a local school leader and awards were given to the top 12 schools in the Take Ten poster design contest.

The Take Ten Program is an outreach project of the Robinson Community Learning Center encouraging students to “Talk it out, Walk it out and Wait it Out” before taking action. 

The Center lists the mission statement of its Take Ten Program as one working “to promote choices and strategies that cultivate nonviolent communities.”

Two Notre Dame seniors, Jarred Carter and Austin Dwyer, were recognized for their service within the center at the celebration.

“We pretty much have an occupation where we are able to help kids, play with them, tutor them and also give them advice about the world and guide them in their future endeavors,” Carter said about his two and a half years of volunteer service at the Center.

Members of the John Adams High School Jazz Band provided musical entertainment to guests, mainly consisting of parents of the students and elderly members of the community, Carter said.

Each semester over 250 Notre Dame students volunteer at the Center.

In a recent press release about his new promotion, Caponigro said he would continue to work to improve Notre Dame’s presence in South Bend and build relationships with both community leaders and ordinary citizens.  He also expressed hope that these partnerships would last, sustain, and grow because they are the “foundation of the Robinson Center.”