SCC holds a special place in the history of Joliet, IL. It opened its doors in a period similar to the present, in which there was substantial mobility from Chicago to the suburbs. The civil rights movement and increasing diversity during this period heightened the demand and surge of new social services in suburban communities. The Hernandez, Adler, and Maher families began assisting the local migrant communities out of a private home on Herkimer St. and established Spanish Community Center as a 501(c)3 in 1969.
Joliet and its leadership uniquely understood the need to lead and become a place where people would successfully settle. The SCC became a pivotal broker between the established public system and the new Latino community.
Although, the SCC emerged as a response to Latinos’ needs, its model has been to serve everyone that walks in the door. No one is excluded and services are diverse and sensitive to the needs of the Will County community. We are now the only agency in the county that serves as a bilingual one-stop shop of comprehensive direct services.
Today’s Center welcomes all members of the community regardless of race or ethnic origin. We market ourselves as multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-lingual, and multi-generational. We have five core areas of programming:
1) Early Childhood Education and Childcare: We offer a two-way bilingual, year round day care for children ages 2 through 5. We utilize the Creative Learning Curriculum and direct our instructional lesson plan toward kindergarten readiness skills through the Preschool for All program.
2) Social Services: Through the Immigrant Family Resource Program, IL Welcoming Center, and Family Advocacy Center, we serve as a one-stop shop for individuals and families who are afraid or unaware of where to go for help. We provide resource and referral, linguistic and culturally competent case management, weekly food pantry, and vouchers for household goods and clothing assistance when resources permit.
3) Citizenship and Immigration and New Americans Initiative: Our center’s Citizenship and Immigration Services serve all nationalities and countries of origin. We are a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services’ Community Based Organization and are registered with the Illinois Attorney General for immigration services. All Immigration services are only provided to eligible individuals.
4) Adult Education: This includes English as a Second Language classes, citizenship workshops, computer literacy, GED, among others in partnership with Joliet Junior College.
5) Multicultural Coalition and Leadership Academy of Will County: Funded by the Community Foundation of Will County, the coalition and leadership academy have the mission of bringing together and empowering diverse public sector leaders from across Will County to address local multicultural issues.