Our Mission is to create new possibilities for the people of South Chicago
by providing opportunities for educational development.

In the spirit of Mary Ward, founder of the Institute,
the Center recognizes the individual worth of persons and
journeys with them to foster their true potential.

Our Approach

A unique aspect of the services we offer both one-on-one and small group settings. This intensive approach allows staff and volunteers to develop and implement an individualized plan that addresses the needs of each participant. Conversation classes are available to strengthen leaners’ skills in day-to-day situations. As participants increase their communication skills and enjoy its success, they are also building the foundation to become lifelong learners in their new homeland.  

What We Do

The Mary Ward Center was established in 1999 in the South Chicago community of the city of Chicago to address the language needs of local Hispanic immigrants.  Services are provided regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, or income.  The MWC offers assistance in basic education, such as; tutoring in reading, writing, grammar, listening and speaking skills, basic computer training, and activities for spiritual growth and personal enrichment.

Our hands-on computer classes are limited to four students per class. They learn at their own pace with individual attention. Rosetta Stone, Maevis Beacon Teaches Typing, Microsoft Word and Excel are basic to the curriculum. In addition, the students are introduced to the Internet and the various skills connected to it.

A women’s group (Mujeres de Luz), Women of Light, is open to all Hispanic women in the area. The Mujeres de Luz leadership group is made up of lay women who have participated in past sessions and have gained much as a result. They are usually former students of MWC and have a desire to help other women.

IBVM Committed

As a ministry of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), Mary Ward Center embraces the Institute’s Direction Statement that calls members to stand in a direct way with the powerless, those on the fringes of society. 

About South Chicago

The South Chicago community is rich in immigrant history dating back to the early 19th century with the settling of eastern Europeans. Today’s residents are Mexican Americans, other Hispanic groups and African Americans. About 45% of the population of South Chicago is Hispanic.

The needs of the community are many. It is an underserved area due to the changing neighborhood and poverty. When Mexicans were asked to come and work in the thriving steel industry, many came and settled in South Chicago. The steel industry was shut down and the people and area were left with no income, no jobs and few opportunities. Many came undocumented and this added to their struggles as they searched for jobs. The need for English skills was great. As these adults learned English they were able to help their children with homework and converse with teachers. Their own educational background was usually one of interruptions. Some never attended school and others dropped out as they were needed to work and help support the family. Today, many wish to become citizens and need English to pass their test and interview. Learning English has now become a priority for a better life here in the United States.


    Mary Ward Center     3215 E 91st Street, Chicago, Illinois  60617     773 734 2420    Contact Us