Extraordinary People: Notre Dame Learning Center

- The School Sisters of Notre Dame began teaching in Rochester in the 1800's. In the 1960's, 100 of them taught in local Catholic schools. Today, there are ten sisters left, and this is how they're keeping their mission alive. At the Notre Dame Learning Center, volunteers tutor children and adults from around the city.
Amaree Harvey is one of them. This 11 year old from Rochester Prep Charter School needs help with reading and math. "The words I earn here, it's easy for me to know at school," she says.
The Notre Dame Learning Center is located on the third floor of the Charles Settlement House, in one of Rochester's oldest and poorest neighborhoods. No one here is turned away. The nuns plan the lessons in reading and math, and volunteers do the teaching. Some are college students, some are retirees. "It was time for me to give back to this community," says tutor Dyann Brown. "Here at Notre Dame we're all invested in our students to succeed."
"The sisters aren't going to be here forever," says Sister Evelyn Breslin, director of the Learning Center. "Will the Notre Dame Learning Center survive? Yes, it will, with the good people of Rochester. Because it's not just our mission to meet the needs of the poor. Many people in Rochester have that same mission."
Jalon Wilson is also a student at NDLC. "My tutor, Mr. Paul, helped me with my fractions so I can get better at my tests," he says.
The NDLC relies on funds from the order, but that just covers the rent. The rest comes from donations. All of it goes toward free, one on one learning. Amaree's dad found out about it, by word of mouth. He brings her in for tutoring after school, two days a week.
Over the years, as Catholic schools closed and vocations came to a crawl, the nuns' work seemed to be in jeopardy. The learning center is their answer. After more than a century in Rochester, the School Sisters of Notre Dame may have just saved their best, for last.

For more information about the Notre Dame Learning Center, click here.


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