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.
A unique aspect of the services we offer is a one-on-one setting. This intensive approach allows staff and volunteers to develop and implement an individualized plan that addresses the needs of each participant. Individual instruction enables them to learn at their own pace, which tends to be faster than in a group and fosters a meaningful connection between student and tutor. 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.
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. Loretto Sisters staff Mary Ward Center full time and work with many trained volunteers from the community. The student list has grown to more than 150 men and women. Over 1000 people have passed through these doors, at least 23 have become citizens and many have better jobs.