The Peace Corner Youth Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. Originally established to provide the neighborhood youth a safe haven from gang violence and drug dealing, The Peace Corner has grown into a community center that provides meaningful programming aimed to encourage lifelong learning and development.
Founded in 2002 and incorporated in 2005 by Fr. Maurizio Binaghi of the Comboni Missionaries, The Peace Corner started in a small storefront on Cicero Ave. It was created as a place where children could be safe to be children. The Peace Corner was a space that was free of gang violence and closed off to the drug trade. Young people of the neighborhood came to do homework, play pool, and talk to someone about their problems.
In 2005, The Peace Corner moved to its first Madison St. location. It was here that The Peace Corner became more than an after-school program. A dedicated group of staff, volunteers and contributors ensured that The Peace Corner provided the youth with skills needed to be successful. The Peace Corner offered GED classes, job preparedness courses, job placement services and legal services. The after-school program began tutoring, academic enrichment and mentoring. It wasn’t long before The Peace Corner had outgrown its new location.
The Peace Corner began plans for building its permanent home in 2009. Thanks to countless donors, city officials, volunteers, Austin community members, youth, and staff construction began in 2010 and was completed in March of 2011. Now what started in a storefront on Cicero Avenue is now a LEED-Certified, environmentally “green” building on Madison St. The Peace Corner has a computer lab, a fully-equipped classroom, a regulation basketball court, and the respect of the neighborhood.
At the suggestion of The Peace Corner founders, in 2015 Catholic Charities began supporting The Peace Corner administratively. The Peace Corner’s mission, values, and style continues to provide meaningful service and programming aiming to reduce violence and promote healthy youth development.