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Learning Centers /
Resource Libraries

Building Blocks

Where It All Works

What makes a Learning Center and a Resource Library

Take-home school work, for kids of all ages, requires educational resources (encyclopedias and dictionaries, for example) not readily available to those caught up in homelessness. These children and youths are further disadvantaged when homework assignments require access to a computer. Understanding that, HCEF early on began creating Learning Centers and then Resource Libraries within county homeless housing facilities to provide kids with access to the same educational tools at their current, if temporary, residence that their classmates enjoy in their homes. A Learning Center is equipped with computers, the latest in educational software, printers, a scanner, art supplies, a globe and a laminated world map, and appropriate furniture.

One child happily proclaimed to a Learning Center staff member: "Now I feel like my house is like other kids’ houses. I can talk about using a computer at home too. I can even do my reports."

A 4th grade girl asked to tell what she had done during that just-completed school year that made her proud wrote: "I got a B in spelling, I got an A in reading, in math I think I got a B, and I wrote poems." Her favorite memory was "reading a book with someone and reading by herself."

Learning Centers also serve as physical sites for an After-School Enrichment Program and summer opportunities that complement the children's public school education.

A children's programing staff member reports:

"We call our learning center the Happening Place. The books are widely used by our moms and children. They are borrowed daily from the library and upon returning them both moms and children are enthusiastic. The children, some with the help of their moms, are reading the books, learning colors, numbers, and even body parts. The children tell us of different places they read about and imagine what it would be like to visit there in person. The moms of the smaller children borrow the interactive books where the little ones can push buttons and open flaps. The moms are so excited when they see what their babies can accomplish."

Kaitlyn, an HCEF volunteer shares her story:

I have been working with several students at WomenSpace East. I have had an opportunity to provide them with a positive learning environment where they feel comfortable to read and to learn. The children have read over 500 pages so far this summer! They have been practicing sight words with a new set of flash cards I prepared. They are improving their reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, and fluency. It is so exciting to see the progress they are making, even in the short amount of time that some of the children are at the facility.

I was particularly excited about a fifth-grade boy who had been talking about not wanting to come down to the Learning Center. By the time I had worked with him for awhile he was engaged and asking to read more. Another child, who will be entering first grade, has made amazing progress in identification of vowels and differentiating be between long and short vowel sounds. It is exciting to work with students who can be so motivated to learn!

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What was once an unused attic

Movin' On attic - potential Learning Center

has been converted by the young men who will be taking advantage of it into an up-to-date computerized Learning Center at Auberle's Movin'On transitional residence for youths. Learn more here.

How does HCEF help create a Learning Center and Resource Library?

See our photo story of "a work in progress."

How does HCEF help transfigure a Learning Center and Resource Library?

See the photo


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Homeless Children's Education Fund • 2020 Smallman Street, Second Floor • Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone (412) 562-0154 • Fax (412) 562-1109 •
The Homeless Children's Education Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with United Way Donor Option #963315.
Donations are tax deductible in accordance with IRS rules and regulations. The official registration and financial information of the Homeless
Children's Education Fund may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999.
Registration does not imply endorsement.