Credit: Zol87 via Flickr

Named for one of the four girls killed in a 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, the nonprofit agency serves west-side kids and families, about half of them African-American and half of them Hispanic, and almost all of them poor. “Our goal is to educate children and engage parents in that process,” says Jennifer Leigh, vice president of external relations. At its founding in 1976, the center had a part-time staff of six and a budget of $115,000, and served children ages six to 12; now the budget is over $10 million, and a staff of 200 provides services for children ages six weeks to 18 years. A home-visiting program operates out of a building at Roosevelt and Damen, and facilities in Little Village and North Lawndale offer programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children.