Robinson Community Learning Center Receives $10,000 Shakespeare Grant

Author: Carol C. Bradley

RCLC Shakespeare Student

The Robinson Community Learning Center has been awarded a $10,000 Better World Books Literacy and Education in Action Program (LEAP) grant for a six-week intensive summer Shakespeare program for inner city youth.

The summer camp will serve 20 to 25 youth ages 10 to 17, using Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” as the focal work. Participants will receive instruction in the essentials of theater through a variety of workshops including voice, text analysis, stage combat, and set design.

The RCLC Shakespeare Company performs two full plays per year, and participants compete annually in the English Speaking Union Shakespeare National Shakespeare Competition. Last weekend, company member Charell Luckey, a junior at Adams High School in South Bend and the Shakespeare at Notre Dame regional champion, competed for the state championship in Indianapolis and was named first runner-up.

Charell Luckey at Regional Competition

“The program provides children with a safe and enriching place to be in the summer,” says Jennifer Knapp Beudert, RCLC manager. “It also builds literacy, public speaking skills, confidence, and teamwork. It’s the most wonderful learning experience—for both the kids and adults who participate in the program.”

Better World Books, a for-profit social venture founded by Notre Dame graduates Christopher “Kreece” Fuchs and Xavier Helgesen, collects used books and sells them online to raise money for literacy initiatives worldwide.

The organization has raised more than $9 million for library and literacy projects, at the same time diverting nearly 49 million books from landfills. Better World Books got its start in a business incubator at the RCLC, sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business’ Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies; the organization’s first book collection site was housed at the Robinson Center.

The RCLC was started in 2001 as a community-driven education center sponsored by Notre Dame in collaboration with community residents and partners. The center offers a number of programs and activities sponsored by local agencies and organizations, including youth after school programs, health education and screenings, GED and English-as-a-second-language classes, and tax preparation. It also features a Computer Teaching and Learning Center, which is equipped with 20 computers and provides instruction and Internet and e-mail access.

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