THE RICH HISTORY OF
THE BOOKER T. WASHINGTON LEARNING CENTER
In 1985, Reverend Leroy Ricksy was hired as the Executive Director of the East Harlem Urban Center (EHUC), a community based organization started in the late 1960s. A recognized community leader, Rev. Ricksy first organized tenants to preserve their own buildings when the problems of homelessness began. Then in 1987, Rev. Ricksy found four unsupervised children in the course of a housing call. At that moment he pledged to address the plight of these children, who represented the future of the community. With the help of volunteers, individuals, religious institutions, foundations, and corporations he established the Booker T. Washington Learning Center.
Ever since, the Booker T. Washington Learning Center (BTWLC) has offered programs run in the community, by the community, and for the community. The Learning Center has provided a safe, structured, and loving community of learning that promotes academic, social, and emotional growth for children in East Harlem. The center has also enabled parents to become more self-sufficient by affording them an opportunity to focus on work, education, or recovery. Our various programs attract a range of students from diverse academic, socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. This diversity as well as the five days a week allows us to offer a unique type of community: one focused on both social and academic enrichment. The majority of our students have been attending the center since the Pre-School, have siblings, cousins and other family members in other BTWLC programs, are being tutored by volunteers that have been coming to the center since its inception, and guided by counselors who went through the programs themselves. The comprehensive and intimate nature of our programs makes the BTWLC a second school, a second family, and a second home.