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Anticipation Grows for the Opening of UIC Neighborhood Offices in Auburn Gresham and North Lawndale

Auburn Gresham Neighborhood Center

The UIC Office of Community Collaboration is moving closer to the anticipated opening of its two neighborhood centers– the UIC Neighborhood/MLK Exhibit Center in the North Lawndale community, located at 1558 S. Hamlin, and the Auburn Gresham Center, at 839 W. 79th Street.

The UIC Neighborhood/MLK Exhibit Center is nearing completion with the addition of office spaces and a kitchenette, with its original décor left intact.   The installation of office furniture is expected to happen by late September.

“Our intentions are to activate the space in a collaborative model in tune with MLK’s legacy – to empower, uplift, and benefit others,” said Keith Lewis, UIC senior director of community collaboration. “In this spirit, we’re holding a welcome gathering celebration in early October for neighborhood residents and the UIC community.  It will be a day full of food, music, laughter, love, and experiential activities.   We will honor the incredible legacy of Dr. King, learn about the history of the North Lawndale, and build connections amongst those in attendance.”

The Auburn Gresham UIC Neighborhood Center will feature a “Faces of Community” collage mural by artist Dorian Sylvain who has gathered hundreds of images, both past and present, from community residents.  In addition to the mural, residents, community, and business leaders are being interviewed by Dan Baron, a journalist and public engagement consultant, on their thoughts about UIC and the neighborhood center.

Activities and programs at the Auburn Gresham center are expected to begin in early September after the Labor Day holiday.  A few of the initial trainings and workshops to be offered by community-based organizations include:

  • Ba Nia, Inc, an organization focused on reproductive justice and health, will conduct weekly or monthly group workshops on Prenatal Education, Infant Massage, and Childbirth Education
  • Advocates for Community Wellness, a faith-based health promotion and disease prevention ministry, will offer nutrition education and breast cancer awareness and survivorship support
  • UIC departments, including the office of financial aid, the urban health program, and others, will provide Leo Catholic High School students with monthly workshops

All elementary schools in Auburn Gresham and North Lawndale are being surveyed to learn about their support needs and priorities areas in efforts to develop school-based engagement plans.  The survey results will help to craft educational workshops both in-person and virtually in collaboration with relevant UIC departments and community partners.

Details and information about the center openings will be released in the coming weeks.

The UIC Office of Community Collaboration can be reached at (312) 996-8827 for more details.