In 2009, the West Side Community Center (WSCC) launched programs in Waukegan, IL to bridge educational and vocational disparities within families of youth in our community. In an effort to fulfill its mission of strengthening youth and their families to become strengthened community members, WSCC began to launch programs with limited start-up community partners and private donors funding. WSCC established a learning center, which consisted of a reading library, donated and upgraded computers, and with donated funding for internet connection. From the donations of equipment, technical service, and donated space, WSCC provided a safe space for students to complete homework and research during after school hours. WSCC enrolled middle and high school students into that after school program. With an unlimited vision and limited funding, WSCC provided the same learning laboratory to senior citizens in the community to strengthen their skills in computer and reading. WSCC had begun to accomplish its mission! One year after the launch, WSCC could see how the Youth in our programs were being strengthened as they started performing better academically and had become more interested in attending college and vocational programs. Because of their success and in an effort to continue our mission, WSCC began awarding book scholarships to students graduating from high school and enrolling into colleges. To date, we have awarded over 50 scholarships. Additionally, WSCC provided Historically Black College and University scholarship tours to academically successful high school students. Currently, students and families know WSCC as an inclusive Community Center that offers programs to strengthen them in areas of education, relation, vocation, and family.
Our Board Members
Dr. Wade A. Stevenson
Dr. Stevenson has years of training in Individual and Family Development, Psychology, and Leadership, with expertise in Program Design. He brings decades of experience in the practice of social service work, community and congregational leadership.
Ms. Gloria B. Stevenson
Ms. Stevenson studied Occupational Therapy, and now is willing to help students and families function in home and vocational settings. She also brings years of administration experience and support to WSCC and to our community.
Mr. Calvin Carter
Mr. Carter brings decades of residential and commercial maintenance expertise to WSCC students and their families in our community. He understands the importance of networking and financial literacy through his work as chairman of a community Federal Credit Union.
Director of Programs
Ms. Janine R. James
Ms. James earned her Bachelor’s degree in Finance, and her Master’s degree in Business Administration. She brings years of practice in program and business administration from public and private sectors. After her former service as Program Director for a nonprofit organization, she now brings years of expertise to WSCC and our community. Further, she brings decades of corporate tax accounting expertise, with consummate knowledge of IRS requirements for nonprofits, and a knowledge base of other accounting and finance practices within a business organization.
Director of Education
Ms. Tara Cook
Ms. Cook holds a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She brings 25 years of experience in Secondary and Adult Education to WSCC. Her expertise lies in developing and implementing alternative education programming and services that promote academic success, social emotional support and post-secondary preparedness for non traditional learners. Additionally, Ms. Cook is certified as a Restorative Practices Trainer of Trainers.
Director of Community Engagement
Ms. Tasia Fields
Ms. Fields is a veteran educator. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education, Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and an Ed.S in Educational Leadership and Administration. Tasia is currently a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is pursuing her Ed.D in Educational Policy and Organizational Leadership with a concentration on Diversity and Equity in Education. Her current roles include the Director of Equity and Inclusion for the Waukegan Community School District and Adjunct Professor for the College of Lake County. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in education and expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion. She has a passion for serving the community and will provide new partnerships and resources.
WSCC offers several programs to bridge the gap for the underserved families in our communities. WSCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and serves the communities of Waukegan, Beach Park, Zion, North Chicago, and Park City in suburban Chicago. We rely on grants from corporations and foundations, donations from individuals, businesses, fundraisers, and volunteers to help fund the resources and support we provide to these communities. We welcome and thank you in advance for your support of our Mission and Vision to bridge the gap and help provide the much needed resources to our community.