Over-the-Rhine Learning Center celebrates 15 years with new location

Thanks to Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, the OTR Learning Center has a new home. After the completion of a five-year rehabbing project, the new Elm Street Senior Housing marked the only OTR venture to provide accessibility, affordability and support services for the senior citizens living in the area. The building includes 15 new one-bedroom units, a new elevator, a resident lobby, two community spaces, a laundry room and a new outdoor courtyard. A part-time service coordinator and live-in resident manager will provide the necessary support services for the residents.

The community building allows the learning center to occupy the space rent-free on its first floor, providing open access to those in the area who seek assistance in of reading and computer literacy.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 20th marked the Over-the-Rhine Learning Center’s 15-year anniversary. Since 2003, they have focused on improving literacy and computer literacy skills in adults living in the area, providing an environment sensitive to their unique challenges. In 2014, they obtained 501(c)(3) status and began to operate as an independent non-profit organization. Currently, the center offers several programs including Basic Reading, Bridge to GED, and Intro to Computers programs.

Volunteers are trained to take on both young and adult learners, and come from a variety of faiths, ages, races, and education levels. The center serves a range of students from teenagers to senior citizens, usually those facing low-income challenges. Nearly all the students have some connection to OTR and are African-American.

The center places students one-on-one with a tutor, and they meet once a week for the most optimal learning, boasting improvements up to one grade level per year for each student in the Basic Reading Program. And while student retention for adult literacy programs struggles, the Basic Reading Program gives each student the attention they need no matter how long they stay.

Aside from basic literacy challenges, the Over-the-Rhine Learning Center also assists the community in computer literacy. Most recently, they launched the Community Computer Lab during the month of July. Each Thursday in July, the center invited all students who earned their Intro to Computers certificate for four sessions of learning basic computer skills like emailing, typing, and internet searches. The goal with these lab days was to give new computer users an opportunity to practice their skills with someone present to answer questions as they arose. They hope to continue this program in the fall as well.

If you’re interested in making a donation or volunteering with OTRCH or the learning center, please call 513-421-3265 or contact the center at otrlearningcenter@yahoo.com.

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