Child’s Gate to Learning is a Chicago, IL based, non-profit, volunteer organization founded in 1998. The group’s founders wanted to help address the multiple social problems that emerged in Lithuania after independence was re-established in 1990, following 50 years of Soviet occupation. The Lithuanian people are still faced with high unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, disintegration of family structure, and many feel a sense of hopelessness. Truancy, delinquency, substance abuse, and depression continue to be problematic. All of these social issues have had a devastating impact on the children and adolescents of Lithuania.
Child’s Gate to Learning currently supports, by various fund-raising activities, eight after-school and day centers that work with children and youths from at risk and economically disadvantaged families. It is estimated that more than 400 children each year benefit from group-supported programs at the centers. The five character building programs, developed by a subcommittee of experienced educators, social workers and other psychologists, continue to be used by the centers.
The goals of Child’s Gate to Learning are:
- Support, expand, and enrich the existing after school centers.
- Provide the children with new educational experiences, such as computer training, improving language skills and teaching English as a second language.
- Provide socialization skills and cultural opportunities through participation in art, drama, music, vocational, and athletic activities.
- Provide academic assistance to children having problems with their homework.
- Provide children with at least one nourishing meal a day.
- Provide the children with needed school supplies.
- Help with medical and dental expenses.
- Help improve the children’s self-esteem and their respect for others.
- Engage psychologists and social workers to work with the children.
- Promote volunteerism in Lithuania.
Members and Chapters
The organization has over 100 members. They donate their time, resources, educational materials, and contact individuals, local groups, and businesses for support and participation.
The organization is based in Chicago and has chapters in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Sunny Hills (Florida), and Washington, D.C. Each chapter conducts various fund-raising activities throughout the year.