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This is a chance to celebrate’

Anna Boarini | Monday, February 21, 2011

The Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) celebrated its 10th Anniversary Friday.

The Center was established under the tenure of University President Fr. Emeritus Edward “Monk” Malloy.

“This is a chance to celebrate and recognize that great things happen when good people pull together their knowledge and resources to help the young, old and everyone in between,” Malloy said at a celebration Friday.

The accomplishments and collaborations of the Center were on full display Friday night at an open house held for the community.

“It is always important to set ambitious goals, but also important to celebrate our successes,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said.

Some of the programs based at the RCLC are a Lego Robotics team, an entrepreneurship program and a youth Shakespeare troupe.

Charell Lucky, a student that participates in the youth Shakespeare troupe, performed Sonnet 40 and a scene from Henry VI.

“The RCLC is a blessing for me and my family,” Lucky said.

Take Ten, a violence prevention program in local public schools also celebrated. The RCLC is home to the program, which serves 16 schools in the South Bend Mishawaka community, as well as the Center for the Homeless, all Boys and Girls clubs and community centers.

John Hess, a local principal, received the James A. Kapsa award for his work with Take Ten.

“Take Ten works best when the principal steps up and is strong and instrumental to making Take Ten a success,” Ellen Kyes, director of the Take Ten program, said while presenting the award.

Two members of the RCLC received an award for their participation. Isaiah Crudup won the James A. Roemer award presented to a youth participant that has excelled in the Center’s programs and Alfreda Redding won the Dr. Dale O. Grayson award honoring an adult in the RCLC education programs.

The Renelda Robinson award, named after the community member whose name also sits over the RCLC, is given to a community volunteer that promotes learning and relationship building. Bridgett Mitchell received the award and was described as a volunteer who not only does the job, but does it with kindness.

Two members of the Notre Dame community were also honored. Junior Caitlin Kinser received the Rev. Don McNeill C.S.C. award, which is presented to a Notre Dame student volunteer, for her dedication to the Shakespeare program at the center. The Arthur Quigly award is given to a distinguished Notre Dame faculty or staff member. This year’s recipient was Nicole MacLaughlin, a University Writing Progam teacher who partnered youth participants in the Shakespeare troupe and her students. She also received a grant that allowed her to take 25 Notre Dame and 16 RCLC students to Chicago to see Romeo and Juliet.

“[The RCLC is the] heart and home of the east side,” Jasmine Brown, RCLC advisory board co-chair, said. “We need to be the visionaries of the future and the philanthropists of tomorrow.”

Jay Caponigro, the current Notre Dame director of community engagement and first director of the RCLC, said he is confident the RCLC will continue on strong due to the great people and community that make the center what it is.