COMMON PLACE ...where love works
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED ABOUT COMMON PLACE
1. WHAT IS
A social justice/social service agency dedicated to
eliminating the root causes of poverty, injustice and racism
2. HOW AND WHEN WAS IT STARTED?
By a group of people from various churches in 1967.
3. WHERE IS IT LOCATED?
In the center south side of Peoria between MacArthur Highway
and Western Avenue with offices and some programs in the
former Howett Street Christian Church Building. Other
programs take place in three adjacent houses.
4. WHAT DOES COMMON PLACE DO?
COMMON PLACE has worked to encourage a lifestyle of love and
concern for others. By recognizing the dignity and
self-worth inherent in each person, we strive for
elimination of the root causes of social injustices through
educational programs. It is our vision to empower adults and
children to enhance their self-esteem, attain
self-sufficiency and to seek to serve others and their
community. We work to achieve these goals by offering
educational opportunities and encouraging the community to
From 1967 - 2003, COMMON PLACE held preschool classes for 3-
and 4-year-old children. More than 1800 children were loved
and helped by enriching preschool educational experiences
and the involvement of their parents in their early
education. Preschool classes were discontinued in 2003.
The Home Improvement Program began in 1976 and has provided
over 565 South Side low-income homeowners with necessary
repairs to their homes. For many of those years, it provided
work experience and carpentry skills to trainees as well;
however, it is now necessary to subcontract with licensed
After school enrichment programs and tutoring are offered
for students from kindergarten through high school. Among
these programs are Promising Futures (K-2), Future Quest
(3-4), Turning Point/Teen REACH (5-6), Extended Family
(7-8), and Focus (9 –12), Summer Youth/Work Study, Summer
Tutoring, and Summer Teen Employment Program & Service.
These comprehensive programs help youth achieve
goal-oriented behavior while addressing each child's needs.
Stressing quality education, staff communicate with local
schools and even attend parent/teacher conferences in order
to optimally support each child’s learning. During the
school year other activities are offered including Brownies
and Jr. Girl Scouts, a Cub Scout Pack, a Boy Scout Troop and
a 4-H group. Family Reading Nights, Cultural Tales
celebrations, career/college exploration, library visits and
field trips are important additional experiences for the
Our Adult Literacy Program was begun in 1979 to help
eliminate the problem of 16,000 English-speaking adults in
Peoria who cannot read. Using various methods and materials,
adults are currently obtaining this basic, life-enriching
skill with the help of trained tutors on a one-on-one basis
and in small groups. Lifeskills education in health
literacy, nutrition, sewing, finances, and other basic
living skills are also provided.
COMMON PLACE works to reduce hunger on the South Side
through the Emergency Food Pantry and is a S.H.A.R.E. host
site as well.
5. HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THE STAFF?
There are 7 full-time, 11 part-time or seasonal staff
members, and 4 paid high school interns at COMMON PLACE.
Training for previously unemployed persons is one of COMMON
6. WHAT ARE COMMON PLACE'S SOURCES OF INCOME?
In 2009: Church sources comprised 11% of our support
Individual gifts were 20%
Businesses, foundations, groups were 14%
Government grants 34%
Self-produced, fund-raising events 7%
United Way 14%
7. WHO IS ON YOUR BOARD?
The COMMON PLACE Board is partly comprised of persons
appointed by supporting congregations and denominations.
Other members from the neighborhood and from the greater
Peoria area are elected by the Board.
8. WHAT CHURCH DENOMINATION ARE INVOLVED?
Disciples of Christ, United Methodist, Presbyterian, United
Church of Christ, American Baptist and Lutheran (ELCA)
churches are actively involved in the support of COMMON
9. DO YOU USE VOLUNTEERS?
Thousands of individuals have
been involved as volunteers at COMMON PLACE since 1967.
Currently, volunteers are helping teach adults and youth to
read, providing building repairs and improvements, providing
office assistance, lending their technical skills and
helping to raise funds.