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The Mission of the Urban Muslim Minority Alliance (UMMA Center) is to empower the lives of underprivileged individuals in Lake County by providing educational support and community resources. The UMMA Center believes that Lake County will be strengthened by the growth that education, hope and purpose bring to those seeking to enrich their lives with opportunities.
The UMMA Center opened its doors in June 2004 in a facility located in the center of downtown Waukegan. It was and still is, one of the few educational centers of its kind in the area, serving low-income individuals of every race, ethnicity, and religion who seek education as a way to improve their lives. In just two short years, the UMMA center expanded to offer weekly computer courses, twice-weekly GED training courses, monthly financial management seminars, daily tutoring, and a full-time food pantry.
Soon after its establishment, the UMMA Center joined efforts with local community outreach programs to expand its programming towards overall community development. The UMMA center began collaborating efforts with the Allendale Association, the Waukegan Pavilion Nursing Home, the Lake County Park District and Interfaith Refugee Immigrant Ministries in the city of Chicago. In doing so, the UMMA center has been able to make a difference in the lives of the underserved Lake County residence, local elderly and the Somali Refugee population in the Chicago-land area.
Since the conception of the UMMA Center we have launched six programs which address basic human needs, educational skill development, and community building. By the end of 2006, the UMMA Center had 15 GED graduates; all of which are planning to pursue higher education. The UMMA Center Food Pantry currently serves over 40 low-income families on a weekly basis. We have been able to maximize our donations by attaining government and corporate subsidized food. Our weekly Computer training class focuses on eradicating computer illiteracy in the predominantly un-educated areas of Lake County.
The UMMA Center's monthly personal financial management training classes and seminars taught by volunteer financial experts are geared towards developing financial literacy and empowerment among inner city residents.In June 2006, the UMMA center hosted its first ever Open House and invited the local community, State Representative Eddie Washington (60th) and other prominent community leaders. Rep. Washington said, "In this venture of unity with the UMMA Center and its programs, we make an additional lighthouse of hope for those who live in this area, proving that together we are better than any of us alone."
- Arshia Ali-Khan
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