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5022 W Madison
Chicago, IL 60644


(773) 261-5330


Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

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 About Us

The Peace Corner Youth Center (PCYC) is a 503(c) (3) organization located in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s Westside. Originally established to provide the neighborhood youth a safe haven from gang violence and drug dealing, The Peace Corner has grown into a community center that provides 5 core services: academic achievement, mentoring, civic engagement, parental involvement, sports and recreation. In addition, PCYC assists older youth between the ages of 18-24 assist with barriers to employment and provides employment services. Some of those services include GED class referrals, basic skill development, referrals for trauma informed care, legal counseling, and mentoring.

Founded in 2002 and incorporated in 2005 by Fr. Maurizio Binaghi of the Comboni Missionaries, The Peace Corner started in a small storefront on Cicero Ave. It was created as a place where children could be safe to be children. The Peace Corner was a space that was free of gang violence and closed off to the drug trade. Young people of the neighborhood came to do homework, play pool, and talk to someone about their problems.

In 2005, The Peace Corner moved to its first Madison St. location. It was here that The Peace Corner became more than an after-school program. A dedicated group of staff, volunteers and contributors ensured that The Peace Corner provided the youth with skills needed to be successful. The Peace Corner offered GED classes, job preparedness courses, job placement services and legal services. The after-school program began tutoring, academic enrichment and mentoring. It was not long before The Peace Corner had outgrown its new location.

The Peace Corner began plans for building its permanent home in 2009. Thanks to countless donors, city officials, volunteers, Austin community members, youth, and staff construction began in 2010 and was completed in March of 2011.

In 2015, Catholic Charities added the Peace Corner Youth Center to its family of programs and continues the legacy of providing a safe haven for youth in Chicago’s Austin community.

Board of Directors

Reverend Monsignor Michel M. Boland- Chair
John Ryan- Vice Chair
Kathy Donahue-Secretary
Angel Gutierrez- Treasurer


Gina Cleggs- Associate Vice President
Gina Cleggs serves as the Associate Vice President for Community Development and Outreach Services of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. She is responsible for the oversight of the day-to-day operations of Maternal Child and Health, Employment and Training, and Community Support programs, including the WIC Food and Nutrition, Peace Corner Youth Center, City Key, Strong Futures, One Summer Chicago and EPIC.

Gina has been with Catholic Charities since 2010 and served as the Director of Workforce, Employment, and Training/Assistant Department Director of the WIC Food and Nutrition Program and was promoted to Associate Vice President in 2012.

Gina has 20 years of experience working with Workforce Development programs, Human Resources, and 15 years of executive management experience including; Manager of Career Services, Director of Employment Services, Director of Human Resources, and Director of Workforce, Employment and Training.

She currently serves on the Regional Advisory Council for the College to Careers Program at Olive Harvey College and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. Gina is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University and her M.A. in Professional Counseling from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology/Argosy. Gina also holds a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Education from the University Of Notre Dame-Mendoza College Of Business.

Ralph Harris- Program Director
Ralph W. Harris attended Northeastern Illinois University and is a graduate of George Williams College, School of Behavioral Sciences. Ralph brings over 30 years of experience in providing various youth/adolescent development programs in the fields of social services, recreation, mental health, and substance abuse treatment. Over his career, Ralph has worked with a number of private, City and State entices, such as, the State of Illinois, as an addiction program manager for adolescent, and IYC Superintendent for Juvenile Justice, and as a Park Supervisor for the Chicago Park District. Ralph’s career includes a lengthy history with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, as Interim Executive Director and as both the Urban Programs Development Director and Executive Director for the North Central Branch YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. Ralph also brings international experience, during his YMCA tenure; Ralph served in East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya as a YMCA World Ambassador for the National and World Alliance of YMCA’s.

Marchellose Williams- Assistant Program Director
Marchellose Williams studied Sport Management/ Business Admin Sports& Recreation at Bemidji State University .He is a native of Chicago, Illinois and attended Near North high School on the Near North side of Chicago.
In Marchellose’ s role is responsible for assisting the Program Director in the day to day operations of the Peace Corner Youth Center as well as program development and the implementation of programs.
Marchellose has over 30 years of youth development and program management experience. He has developed youth programming in Chicago, IL, with the Chicagoland YMCA as an after school Site Director, Chicago Park District as an Inclusion Aide. In addition, he worked in youth development for the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Area Projects in youth development He also has developed and implemented youth programming in the Minneapolis St. Paul Area as well as the Duluth MN area as a Youth Development Coordinator/Afterschool Director. He was a member of the African American Education Council and instrumental in afterschool and youth development for district schools. He also has been instrumental in the success of Project Education Plus helping over 90% of his students go on to earn academic and athletic scholarships to four-year Universities .

End of Year Appeal
2018 Annual Report
990 Forms

Support The Peace Corner

There are many ways to support The Peace Corner, from volunteering to corporate sponsorship to monetary donations. To learn more, call (773) 261-5330.

 Who We Are
In 2015, Catholic Charities added the Peace Corner Youth Center to its family of programs. The Peace Corner Youth Center (PCYC) provides a safe haven for youth in the Austin community on Chicago’s west side. The goal of the PCYC is to enable all young people to better themselves, including those released from detention centers, those in trouble, and those simply wanting a safe place to play and learn.

The Peace Corner Youth Center’s structured youth enrichment program solidifies Austin youth problem solving and critical thinking skills. Supportive staff and community partners offer safe and engaging activities for youth focusing on increasing self-esteem, social and emotional skill building, civic engagement, goal setting, tutoring, and mentoring.

The Peace Corner Youth Center provides a safe haven from gang violence and drug activity, after school programming for children, job training and placement for young adults. We are dedicated to empowering young people to take care of themselves and to contribute to the neighborhood.


To provide a safe haven for youth living in Chicago’s Austin community. The Peace Corner provides tutors, assistance with homework assignments, STEM enrichment activities, small group discussions with peers, and a variety of recreational and educational programs.

 What We do
Teen REACH- The Peace Corner Youth Center provides after school programming for youth between the ages of 6-17 through two programs Teen REACH and Out of School Time (Best Kids). Teen REACH is a program funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Programming is offered during the school year in the early evening hours of 3pm-7pm Monday through Friday and some Saturdays.

The program operates monthly and including summer vacation and other school breaks as appropriate. Teen REACH includes the following core components is its programming: improving academic performance, life skills education, parental involvement, mentoring, civic engagement, and sports, recreation, cultural and artistic activities. The Teen REACH program utilizes evidenced based curricula in its programming such as Strengthening Families. Teen REACH provides a more positive option for youth.

Out of School Time (Best Kids)- The Out of School Time program is funded through the City of Chicago.
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Phone: (312) 655-7525
721 N. LaSalle, Chicago, IL 60654