MISSION STATEMENT: The Meeting Place Learning Center aka The Learning Center (TMPLC) is an after school program in Cleveland, Ohio that exists to provide meaningful out-of school activities and interventions to support academic, emotional and social growth in children.
Founder and executive director Judy Willard and her family moved to Cleveland from Indiana in 2010. The Willards moved to Cleveland to establish an inner city church and serve the Buckeye neighborhood. As part of building relationships with the community, Judy volunteered at Harvey Rice Wraparound, Buckeye’s local Cleveland city school. She has over 26 years experience working and volunteering in the classroom, working with Title One and other interventions.
During her volunteer time, she saw a need for students to receive extra help and support the school could not provide, focusing on the students that teachers deemed “without hope.” She wanted to make a difference in the student’s lives. She invited six students to come to her house to help them with homework. Thus with six students around her dining room table, TMPLC began in 2010.
Since 2011, TMPLC has enrolled over 180 students from the Buckeye-Woodland Hills community in the after school program. The Learning Center will have a 97% retention rate entering the 2019-20 school year. Currently TMPLC meets at Our Lady of Peace school (12604 Buckingham Ave, Cleveland, OH 44120) two blocks away from Harvey Rice Wraparound and Sunbeam School. As their response to the COVID-19 crisis, TMPLC has created a distanced learning program to provide technological and academic support to high-risk students during the remote learning environment.
The Learning Center looks to continue to build capacity and reach more students over the next few years. The Learning Center is dedicated to add more staff training and development to launch young men and women into their careers. TMPLC also wants to establish multiple locations throughout the inner city in order to support as many students as possible.