Our History

The CFL was established in 1991 through a joint effort by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the City of Chicago to build a partnership that serves racially and linguistically diverse families through research-based multigenerational literacy education that is asset-based and culturally relevant. Since its founding, the CFL has had a strong partnership with Head Start programs and the Department of Families and Social Services.

Who we were at 25

The UIC Center for Literacy (CFL) works with children and families to ensure lifelong learning and upward-mobility through improved literacy and family engagement. Further, CFL provides literacy leadership locally, nationally, and internationally through research, policy work, evaluation studies, and advocacy.

CFL understands that a community is not just the sum of its struggles but also the hope of its future. We believe strongly in maintaining partnerships and empowering the communities we serve. Many one-time program participants have gone on to serve and/or become employed full-time within CFL.

Though we have made significant efforts in the fight to improve the lives of the families, communities, and other audiences we serve, we see the past 25 years as just the beginning and look forward to continued progress in the future.

Our Impact

Each year, we serve over 5000 Chicago families in the South and West sides through a range of programming, including Family Start (FAST) parent workshops in financial literacy and digital literacy, GED courses, ESL classes, teacher and volunteer training, and support for families of children with autism and developmental delays.

Our 2019-2020 Impact Statistics include:

  • 3853 Family Start (FAST) Parent workshop attendees
  • 3755 Parent visits/consults to Resource Center for Autism & Developmental Delays (RCADD)
  • 413 Adult learners enrolled in our ESL and HSE/GED Programs
  • 180 Teens in Summer Literacy Coach and Restorative Justice Programs