Founded in 1993 with federal funding through Even Start, the Lolita Lebrón Family Learning Center (FLC) was created by the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center to address the issues of single mothers who lacked a high school diploma because they dropped of school to raise a family. Initially, the program served mothers ages 14-45, providing adult education classes, parenting and life skills workshops, intergenerational and family activities, and support services such as childcare. The program attempted to address the needs of the young women by providing a curriculum that was culturally attentive and diverse and incorporated the lived realities of the parents into instruction.
As education movements progressed, the next agenda was targeting teen parents looking to re-enroll in school. The transformation of the FLC, as it exists today, is a program that supports young, teenage parents in their endeavors as high school students and motivations in parenting. Currently, the FLC provides parenting support groups, curriculum in the Social History of Parenting, and a continuum of childcare services for students of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS). The curriculum for parenting students in high school is student-centered, culturally relevant, and inter-disciplinary.
A core value of the programming and curriculum is to remain attentive to the cultural dynamics of the parenting student population. It is important that the cultural values and foundations of the parenting students are actualized through the programming because it validates their identity and choices as parenting students.
The educational component of the FLC is based on the ideology that the program is centered on the teen parent to continue being a student to support the family, in accordance with the parental issue of fostering self-actualization in parenting as a model for educating their children in a culturally responsive and relevant pedagogical dialogue (Johnson, 2009).
The programming and curriculum is in alignment with the Illinois State Standards in the areas of Social Studies and Social and Emotional Learning. The core academic course for parenting students is The Social History of Parenting. Parenting students enrolled in the course for one academic year and earn one (1) credit to fulfill their Social Studies credits toward graduation progress. A Social and Emotional Learning Mentor is assigned to the parenting students to provide additional support. Through this mentorship, FLC parents receive services granted by the State of Illinois through Reenrollment Services Program. This programming contributes to student fees and academic enrichment activities.
Students who are expecting mothers and/or fathers can rely on the continuous care and support provided by the Lolita Lebrón Family Learning Center. If a student is a parent or expecting to become a parent, he/she can notify FLC Director to begin enrollment into the FLC Program.