Padua Center provides a number of programs to fulfill the needs of the community we serve.
Throughout the day, Padua Center reflects the Gospel value of hospitality. Each morning, the center serves coffee and donuts to those who come to its doors. Through conversation, we nurture friendships, discuss goals, and formulate dreams for the future. Informal networking is essential in developing a strong membership base.
Padua Possibilities Program
An African Proverb says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” At Padua Center, we believe that parents (guardians) need support when dealing with difficult issues with their children. When a student receives a suspension from school that student loses important days of academic learning and negative behaviors remain unchecked. In order to reduce the number of suspensions, Padua Center has created an alternative placement program.
At Padua Center we believe that teachers, parents (guardians), community partners and the student can work together to use the time of suspension as a positive learning experience. Key to the success of this program is the integration of parent, community and school to help the student develop alternative ways of dealing with conflict and simultaneously assisting the student with schoolwork.
Presently the Padua Possibilities Program services, Robinson School, Martin Luther King Academy for Boys and Sherman Elementary.
The Padua Possibilities Program consists of four elements:
Academic Assistance – students complete schoolwork that they could miss during an out of school suspension.
Coaching Conversation – a Social Work MSW Intern meets with each child to help understand the incident which led to a suspension and to explore alternative ways of responding when in a similar situation. If necessary the Social Work Intern and/or the Director contact the school and family concerning the incident.
Peace Education – Each day the student participates in a one-hour group session on peace education. The students learn about using their personal power for good. They reflect on the lives of great heroes who live by peaceful principles, especially Martin Luther King.
Service – As part of their peace education the students offer some service to Padua Center. Students can spend these 10-15 minutes feeding the chickens, planting in the garden, weeding, or during the winter shelving books. This time of service allows the students to contribute to creating a peaceful world.
The school provides lunch. Padua Center provides transportation. Presently the Padua Possibilities Program services Pickett Academy, Robinson School, Martin Luther King Academy for Boys, and Samuel Jones School.
Restoring Possibilities Program
This program works on the success of Padua Possibilities, for children expelled from school. Restoring Possibilities involves one-on-one sessions with a teacher, daily peace education, and counseling.
Padua Center offers a number of enrichment programs for youth in grades K-8. Padua Center holds these programs Monday through Thursday from after school until 5:30 PM. Volunteers and staff assist the children with daily tutoring and homework completion.
Once a week all of the children who wish to can have free piano lessons, provided by John Cleveland and funded through the Toledo Symphony. A piano and two keyboards make music available to all the students.
Various organizations, including The Christ Child Society, provide seasonal activities including a Halloween party, Christmas party, LaPosada, and other activities. As funding is available the children can attend off campus sites.
Kwanzaa Park Neighbors
Padua Center from its beginning in 2006 worked to beautify the neighborhood. Our Ujima Park and Garden, on the corner of Junction and Nebraska Avenue provides a spot of beauty and a respite from the heat; it produces vegetables, herbs and anchors this neighborhood.
In 2011, Padua Center’s Brighten Up Community Organizing group conducted a Name the Neighborhood contest. George Lee won the contest with his submission of Kwanzaa Park. Subsequently, during the fall semester, Dr Lynne Hamer’s University of Toledo Participatory Action Research class divided the Kwanzaa Park area into geographic centers based upon the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa Park borders Dorr Street, Brown Avenue, Campbell Street and Hawley Street. It is about one square mile with Padua Center in the middle. The various parts of the neighborhood have Kwanzaa principles assigned to them.
The Kwanzaa Park Neighbors meet on the first Thursday of the month from 6:00-7:30 PM. Guest speakers, Blockwatch activities, and refreshments are part of every meeting. Everyone is welcome to these meetings.
Please call Padua Center if you have any neighborhood concerns, or you want to volunteer.
Ujima Urban Agriculture
Padua Center sponsors the Ujima Urban Agriculture Program that consists of in-ground gardening, hydroponic gardening and now has a hoop house for year-round gardening. The garden provides fresh vegetables for the neighborhood. Padua Center also uses the garden for educational purposes with the children; it will soon move toward being sustainable. The gardener works with ToledoGrows and will soon be providing food for the food hub. In addition, Padua Center sells some of the produce at the Farmers’ Market in Toledo.