2023 Year-End Appeal


Read Vannessa’s inspirational story of connecting with our Center


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For more than four decades, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning has worked to educate, enrich, and empower children and families.

Our mission and work now spans 27 communities across Chicago through high-quality early childhood education and youth development programs. Our work is deeply grounded in our belief that children are part of an ecosystem that helps them reach their potential, and that each family is our partner. We recognize and appreciate the most important relationship that a child has is with their parent or caregiver. When our families succeed, we succeed.

Our mission to educate, enrich, and empower drives us to strengthen our communities, one family at a time. The work we do is for families, by families, and with families. This includes families like Vannessa Olivera-Romero (read her story below).

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This giving season, donate to help us reach our $55k goal!

When you give, you support our mission of making a difference by educating, empowering, and enriching Chicago’s children and their families.

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Imagine that a political and economic crisis in your homeland leads you to leave your country – the only country you’ve ever known—in search of refuge elsewhere. That was the situation faced in 2022 by Vannessa Olivera-Romero, who left her native Venezuela, crossed many countries during an arduous journey, and found a new home in Chicago with her husband and children.

Vannessa discovered the Carole Robertson Center for Learning through a partner social service organization and soon her four children were enrolled in our early learning and youth development programs – first at our North Lawndale flagship site, and then at the Albany Park site.

Though her background is in public accounting, Vannessa comes from a family of educators. One of our family support specialists encouraged Vannessa to join the Center’s Grow Your Own apprenticeship program to pursue a new career path as an early childhood teacher. “The kindness, respect, and support I have felt with this employment is what I have loved most,” Vannessa said.

“It was a blessing to find this program. I think [the Center’s] first priority is education—they aim to maintain such a high standard. All cultures are handled and cared for here—no matter from what part of the world. And as a parent, I can understand my children better. I know their struggle areas and what they need.”

“My family arrived in the United States in 2022. Soon after, we started at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning. Transitioning to a new environment with a new culture often brings challenges one is not expecting. My family received a lot of support from the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, as they provided our family with the sense of security that my children were safe and cared for. The Center supported my family through this challenging time by providing resources such as food pantries and mental health services, and giving me the opportunity to invest in my career in Early Childhood Education. My goal is to provide this same opportunity for other children and families.”



Donors can make a monetary contribution by mailing a check, filling out a remit form, or simply donating to our cause online by clicking any of our “Donate” buttons. Thank you!


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Since 1976, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning has been dedicated to educating, enriching, and empowering children and families through comprehensive child and family development programs.