1520 W. Chicago Avenue
The Julia Center is a neighborhood outreach center located in the West Town area of Chicago. The Center offers programs of education and enrichment primarily for women and girls that enable them to build self-confidence and self-esteem, discover and develop their gifts and learn to take control of their lives. Julia Center is directed by Victory Noll Sisters and is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, funded solely by private grants and donations.
Program offerings include:
After the closing of St. Boniface Church in 1989, five Victory Noll Sisters conducted an extensive needs assessment survey in the neighborhood. The idea for the Julia Center came as a result of the needs expressed in this survey. During the past ten years, as we expanded, we moved three times until our final and best move in 1996 to our present location, a functional and pleasant store front on Chicago Avenue.
- English as a Second Language (ESL) classes,
- GED and citizenship classes,
- Sewing and Mexican folkdance classes,
- Parenting skills,
- Women’s education and enrichment,
- Spiritual enrichment and Bible reflection.
The Julia Center has a close working relationship with other service agencies in the neighborhood. We collaborate with Mujeres Latinas en Accion; Family Focus; St. Elizabeth Hospital; St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital; Northwestern University Settlement House; Erie Neighborhood House, West Town United; and Holy Innocents and Santa Maria Adolorata Churches. All of us are working to improve the lives of people in this community.
Since 1990, Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish, located in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois, has partnered with the women of the Julia Center. The parish, as well as individual parishioners, have been very generous in their contributions to the Center over the years. However, there has been a very rich, personal exchange beyond that of money.
Some examples include:
Corrie and Jim Keefe have been committed to the Julia Center from the beginning, and have involved their whole family in a variety of ways, including tutoring, working with the youth and maintenance. Corrie characterizes the relationship in this way: "We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Sisters and the women of the Julia Center. It is a most joyful relationship in which the return has been much greater than what we have given."
- Women from both places met at the Julia Center to get to know each other, “Women Meeting Women;” at this event Julia Center’s sewing students presented a style show.
- Women from both places met at Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish and made some of their favorite recipes together.
The biggest fundraiser of the year for the Julia Center, a fantastic Rummage Sale, could not take place without Corrie, Jim and the people of Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish. The items they contribute, gather and deliver for the sale (by the truckload!), are lovely and sold for very little. The people who live in the West Town Area of Chicago have looked forward to this sale months ahead, for over ten years. Julia Center’s purpose in having the sale is not only to earn money for the Center, but to work together on a common project and to serve the neighborhood. The Sale itself has become a social event, where folks visit, have lunch and enjoy their purchases.
Our greatest asset during these years has been the hundreds of women and children who have come through the doors of the Julia Center. These women have not only benefited from the classes and programs, but they have contributed much to the improvement of the Center with their ideas, talents and hard work.