On May 16, 2017, Dr. Dara Soljaga, chair of Concordia-Chicago’s Department of Literacy and Early Childhood Education and executive director of the Center for Literacy, addressed the Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA) Confab at the Literacenter. Dr. Soljaga used the opportunity to foster awareness of the Center for Literacy’s activities and to encourage mutually beneficial engagement with other member organizations.
In her Confab presentation, Dr. Soljaga briefly traced the Center for Literacy’s story, which began slightly before January 2014 with the goal of actualizing Concordia-Chicago’s mission of integrity, competence and servant leadership. Under Soljaga’s leadership, the Center strives to create access to meaningful and innovative language and literacy-related experiences in research, education, practice, service, and scholarship. In pursuit of those goals, the Center fosters responsive collaborations, policy efforts, and advocacy programs for the greater community and university addressing language and literacy development.
To date, Soljaga reported, the Center for Literacy has developed more than eighteen programs designed to enrich literacy learning in the community. Through its programming, the Center has supported more than 1,300 individuals--preschool through adult--throughout the greater Chicagoland area and abroad. Simultaneously, the Center for Literacy has supported the professional growth in literacy teaching and learning for more than 200 educators through its degree programs.
The Center for Literacy is on track to continue its program expansion to new users. Current projects in formation include establishing a partnership with 30 of the most underserved schools on Chicago’s south and west sides and building a volunteer corps of literacy tutors and mentors.
As one of the 100+ member organizations of the Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA), a member organization of literacy programs in Chicago, Concordia-Chicago’s Center for Literacy leverages its impact in the community by working collaboratively with area organizations whose missions align with that of the Center.
The Literacenter, launched in May, 2015, proudly positions itself as “the country’s first nonprofit shared workspace dedicated to literacy.” As the CLA’s activity hub, the Literacenter empowers the work of member organizations by providing office space and activity space for programs and presentations.