Bringing the Community Together
When you support Carver Center you’re supporting not a building but a community of people who are trying to improve the lives of thousands of Peorians. What started in 1918 as a place for children who needed focus and direction has become a beacon in the heart of Peoria helping to uplift people of all ages and backgrounds.
What Do Your Donations Go Towards?
Youth & Family Services
- Skills USA
- After School
- VLP - Virtual Learning Preschool
- Summer Camp
Health & Fitness
- Go Fit Classes
- Heartland Partnership Health Fair - Blood Pressure, Covid & Diabetes Screenings
- Sports Programs - Biddy Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, T-Ball & Dance
- Open Gym
- PCCEO Ameren Assist
- Peoria Public Schools
- 100 Black Men
- Central Illinois Agency on Aging
- Peoria Riverfront Museum
- Richwoods Church
- United Way
Facilities & Operations
- Multi-Purpose Room
- Computer Lab
- Skills Classroom
- Staff & Team
- Housing, Food & Prescription Assistance
- Mental & Physical Health
- Education - ICC, FAFSA
Our Community Impact
"I have been utilizing Carver Center for the past year and a half since they have fully reopened during the pandemic, they have helped me and my family, especially with my grandkids. I am a working grandma who is navigating life helping to raise 3 young kids and take care of my parents, both of whom have Alzheimer’s disease. Life has been so difficult since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and I couldn’t have made it without the resources and support from Carver."
"I returned to Carver in September of 2020 for their fitness classes for me and my two granddaughters, my grandson is autistic and prefers to play on his tablet. We take classes almost everyday and love the farmer’s market coupons that they had hand out. My grandkids have been struggling like so many kids during this weird time with COVID-19 but we were once again able to turn to Carver for their summer kids program that included educational activities to fill the gap, amazing field trips to the nature center, computer coding, arts and swimming. Carver Center steps up, steps in and helps the community. I could not have made it through the last year and a half without them. The ladies at Carver jumped in when I mentioned in passing that I am struggling to care for my parents with Alzheimer’s disease and connected me with the Central Illinois Agency on Aging that helped me find assistance for the home care I have been providing for my parents. Carver is constantly looking for more ways to have a broader impact on the community and they truly care."
"I’m looking forward to my grandkids getting older and being more involved in the sports programs that they offer. Carver is developing programs to work with the schools in Peoria which makes me happy because I remember their presence 20 years ago. Now that school is back in session Carver offers after care and picks up my 2 granddaughters from school and brings them there for snacks and a variety of activities and its especially nice that they offer it everyday even during breaks and early dismissals."
Billy Jean's Story
"I am the SkillsUSA coordinator at George Washington Carver Community Center. My connection to the center (affectionately referred to as “Carver”) goes back to when I was a little girl. Carver represented then, as it does now, a safe haven for children who look like me - to play and enjoy their youth. It became the epicenter of positive change and growth."
"One of my memories dates back to around 1966 or 1967. In some parts of the country, blacks had acid thrown on them for attempting to swim in public pools. But at carver, on a hot summer day, I was feeling pretty in my brand new swimming suit. I noticed my mom (sundress and sandals) standing outside of the fence. I jumped out of the pool and ran over to talk to her. Just then one of the cutest boys in the pool blurted out, 'Is that your mom? I want to talk to her!' Needless to say I no longer felt like a swimsuit model."
"My most vivid memory was in the year 2003. Young black women began to disappear from the streets of Southside Peoria. My step-daughter, Brenda Erving, fit the profile of other victims so of course we prayed much and talked about her safety. One day, while working as CEFCU loan executive to United Way – I received a call from my husband. 'Billy – he got her. He got Brenda!' Of course I was heartbroken and angry."
"Carver opened its door to the ailing community and the families of eight women who had either been found dead or declared missing. For a year, families with missing black females where living a nightmare! Who is doing this and when will he strike again? Percy Baker (Director) dedicated Carver, once a week, to allow families to vent, console, and pray. Carver was the place that encouraged victims who had escaped the monster to come forth and talk. From autumn leaves through flakes of snow – we came and we cried – at Carver. Finally, in January of 2005 an arrest was made."
"Just last year Carver served as the gathering place, on three separate occasions, as family and friends of four very young crash victims came in an attempt to close the chapter on their short lived lives."
"Carver is the place to commemorate births, death, weddings, birthdays, community awareness – the list goes on. We have a small workforce but the capability of doing great things. I am proud to have come full circle with Carver. I retired from banking in 2012 but have the privilege of contributing to the growth and positive life-altering change in this community – through Carver!"