LYNN — The KIPP Family and Community Learning Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary serving as a hub for community education and fellowship for Lynn’s families.
The KIPP Family and Community Learning Center in Lynn began at 25 Bessom St, KIPP Lynn Academy’s first location. In 2012, when KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate High School opened at 90 High Rock St, the Center moved there. Though the programs are run by KIPP Schools, the classes are open to all—60 percent of participants are not KIPP parents themselves. Participants live in Lynn and surrounding communities with people from more than 40 countries attending the school. More than 2,000 people in 10 years have taken part in the free programming, and today more than 300 adult learners are enrolled, with a wait list of 700.
KIPP’s long-range plan is to offer free adult education to more than 700 Lynn residents.
The Family and Community Learning Center in Lynn offers classes such as English as a Second Language, Financial and Computer Literacy and Zumba—with free child care for the duration of each session. The classes take place at 90 High Rock on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8 pm.
The Center also hosts potlucks, book clubs, movie nights, and civic engagement classes, as well as workshops on parenting, housing, and fuel assistance.
Hugo Carvajal, Director of Family and Community Learning, has been at the helm of this program since its inception. Carvajal built the program from just a few classes a decade ago to over 20 classes being taught for 12 hours weekly in Lynn and Boston.
“Lifelong learning does have a transformational impact,” said Carvajal, “and research from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard has demonstrated that building adult capabilities improves child outcomes.”
The Center also offers immigration and citizenship workshops and 50 community members became U.S. citizens through the Center’s programming.
“I am so grateful for being able to receive classes provided by the Family and Community Learning program. Thanks to the citizenship classes, I am now a US citizen, and even though I’ve been eligible to become a citizen for a long time, it wasn’t until I received those classes and guidance from the professor that made me feel ready to begin the naturalization process,” said participant Yaniris Rojas.
The Family and Community Learning Center in Lynn is also a site for voter registration, and free for use for local groups including Entrepreneurship for All, La Vida Scholars, the Highlands Coalition, the Lynn City Council (Mayoral Debate and a Ward 4 Polling Site) and others who have been able to offer programming to support the Lynn community.
“KIPP is an anchor in this community,” said Kevin Moforte, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship for All in Lynn. “They open their doors to organizations like ours and others to be able to work and collaborate on programs. KIPP is incredibly generous with their resources. They are always trying to bring the city and people of Lynn together to work to make Lynn a better place.”