The Jane Addams School for Democracy brings immigrant families, college students and other community members together to do public work and learning. It is a community-based initiative inspired by the vision of democracy, productive citizenship, and popular education held by settlement house pioneers like Jane Addams, who created Hull House in Chicago in 1889.
Participants in the school include long-time community residents, Hmong, Latino, and East African refugee and immigrant adults and children, as well as students, faculty, and staff from nine Twin Cities colleges and universities. The non-bureaucratic and non-hierarchical structure of Jane Addams School breaks down barriers so that people can work together across language, culture, gender and age differences to address issues that impact their daily lives.
In 2007, the Kettering Foundation published an engaging account of the Jane Addams School as told through the voices of the school’s participants. Voices of Hope: The Story of the Jane Addams School for Democracy features 22 essays by 12 writers, including non-native English speakers, and more than 75 photos.
The Jane Addams School was created in 1996 by residents of St. Paul’s West Side neighborhood, staff of Neighborhood House and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and students and faculty from the College of St. Catherine and University of Minnesota. Today, it is coordinated by staff of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship with additional assistance from students of Augsburg College, St. Catherine University, Macalester College, and the University of Minnesota.
In fall 2009, the Jane Addams School moved to the Baker Community Center at 209 Page St. West in St. Paul.
Read more on the Jane Addams School for Democracy web site.