By Zachary Daum
MASCOUTAH – The Leu Civic Center has been undergoing radical transformation in the past few months, led by new Director Jenna Smith.
Built in the 1930’s, the Leu Civic Center was once Mascoutah’s Elementary and High School. It then transitioned into the civic center it is today in 1978, where it began hosting after school activities.
Smith is new to the Leu and Mascoutah. She has been working with the civic center’s longtime sponsor, United Way, to make it more than what it has been in the past. “With Covid, there was a big learning loss with all of the students, both public and homeschool. So now we are offering tutoring, education consultations, IEP Consultations and those are all with the $40 membership a year for a family. This is a one of a kind education resource that people can have access to. There’s so much new life here. I couldn’t do it without our phenomenal staff and board of directors. It’s been incredible.”
The tutors are student volunteers from the National Honor Society and the Beta Club at Mascoutah High School. The tutors and those working at the Leu meet with the families to plan how best to tackle each tutoring plan on a case-by-case basis.
“We see what the family really needs and put together the material,” Smith said. “You can’t find that anywhere else.”
Recently the Leu has begun to accumulate books of learning to assist children in furthering their education. These were donated through many sources, some through grants, some through the Mascoutah community and donations from many curriculum book companies such as Critical Thinking Company, Book Shark and Curiosity Chronicles. The library also features telescopes and microscopes for children to use and check out.
In addition to the new programs being offered at the civic center, the building itself is getting a fresh coat of paint. Volunteers from the Scott Air Force Base Fire Department painted most of the interior, renewing its look. The Mercy’s Door Community Church has been revamping the rec room and the center has also gotten help from the Eagle Scouts with the remodel.
Eagle Scout Chris Copher has been remodeling the upstairs bathroom and has drastically changed it. “I chose to do my Eagle project at the Leu Civic Center because it allowed the project to help the greatest amount of people possible. The staff was also friendly and easy to work with.”
Copher also spoke on how the remodel went, both the eases and difficulties. “I definitely found parts of the project more challenging than others. I wouldn’t say the repairs themselves were hard. I learned most of the skills used in the project from helping with housework when I was little. I think the difficult part is the resilience and flexibility it takes to get people together to work towards a common goal even when things don’t work out in your favor.”
For differing fees, the Leu Civic Center offers a large array of after school activities for children such as an after school day care, gymnastics, taekwondo, karate, volleyball, chess and zumba. They also welcome any assistance with the remodel. For a complete listing of what they offer and how to assist them with remodeling, message the Leu Civic Center on their official FaceBook page or call them at (618) 566-2175 for more details.