Its Brief History
Coming to academia from an extensive work history as a community educator and activist, Dr. G.’s program design and instructional approaches in DePaul’s School for New Learning (SNL) pivoted on building relationships among members of the university family with those in Chicago’s disenfranchised communities because these were aligned to DPU’s and SNL’s mission. This mission emphasized respect for human dignity and the quest for value-guided teaching-learning projects (i.e., in content and format), which were collaboratively developed to optimize service learning projects within a spirit of working for social justice through community engagement. Such projects provided authentic learning opportunities that support not only student learning, but simultaneously focus on community development and faculty teaching and scholarship development. In tandem with community partners such projects were collaboratively developed in the context of Asset Based Community Development-informed empowerment strategies. In the beginning, staring in 2003, activities focused on community-based learning (CbLP) projects for DePaul University students in undergraduate and graduate programs of the School for New Learning. Dr. G. co-designed courses and independent studies with students in collaboration with community leaders, primarily on Chicago’s West and Lower West Side.
After several years of implementing such agile at SNL, she created a loosely-knit network with DePaul University students, faculty, and community residents and volunteers, calling it Community Connexxions in 2012. Over the years, faculty, community activists, leaders of nor-for-profit organizations, staff of corporations and small businesses, veterans, elected officials, and community residents have engaged in CC’s projects of a wide range.
In 2019, CC was incorporated into the Pilsen Storefront and continues to optimize existing community resources, skills, and talents across a multiversity of partners for our envisioned better world. The concept guiding CC ‘s early years continues to be scaffolded on the many assets that collaborative, cross-sector partnerships can bring for the mutual benefit in our communities. At the Pilsen Storefront, we seek to share information, encouragement, and support across organizations and individuals in our City and internationally with our projects or those brought to CC for connecting.