Helping Others

Children in East St. Louis develop life skills at the Griffin Center

The goal of the Griffin Center is to break the multi-generational cycle of poverty by helping children develop the academic and social-emotional skills needed to succeed in life.
The goal of the Griffin Center is to break the multi-generational cycle of poverty by helping children develop the academic and social-emotional skills needed to succeed in life.

In its annual Blessed to Give program, the Belleville News-Democrat features a different charity every day from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

Griffin Center

The Griffin Center, a department of Catholic Urban Program, serves East St. Louis children ages 5 to 14 who reside in public housing by equipping them to realize their potential. The goal of the center is to break the cycle of poverty by helping children develop the academic and social-emotional skills needed to succeed in life.

Currently, about 450 children are served by the Griffin Center through after-school tutoring, homework assistance, computer lab, recreation and character development programs and literacy programs. A private-public partnership with the East St. Louis Housing Authority gives the center free space in its buildings in exchange for free programming for the residents.

How to help

Monetary donations support all Griffin Center programs throughout the year.

The center is also seeking donations of Uno cards or board games, sweat pants and shirts, ear-buds, bike locks, Amazon Fire Tablets, decorative folders and school supplies, and report card incentives like McDonald’s gift cards.

Volunteers are needed to tutor, listen to a child read, coach chess, do arts and crafts, and more.

Contact information

  • Director: Diane Sonneman.
  • Mailing address: P.O. Box 2185, East St. Louis, IL 62202.
  • Phone: 618-489-5021.
  • Email: deschields2630@sbcglobal.net.
  • Website: www.griffincenter-esl.org.
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