Contact Us

Laura Holland
Program Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development Metro/Unity
University of Illinois Extension
UNITY Community Center
632 Orlando Avenue
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4041
FAX: 309-663-8270
laurarh3@illinois.edu

Elizabeth Repplinger
Program Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development -Unity Community Center
University of Illinois Extension
UNITY Community Center
632 Orlando Avenue
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4041
FAX: 309-663-8270
pegg@illinois.edu

Afiwa Tete
Program Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development -Unity Community Center
University of Illinois Extension
UNITY Community Center
632 Orlando Avenue
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4041
FAX: 309-663-8270
amensanh@illinois.edu

Carolyn Hansen
Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Metro - McLean County
University of Illinois Extension
UNITY Community Center
632 Orlando Avenue
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4041
FAX: 309-663-8270
cshansen@illinois.edu

UNITY Community Center

UNITY Community Center

History of Unity

Unity Community Center opened in June 2003 to serve a neighborhood of three apartment complexes; two of which were HUD Section 8 and 42 housing, experiencing problems with gangs and crime. The Town of Normal responded by placing a Normal Police Substation in the area. University of Illinois Extension was approached about starting programs centered on life skills to provide to residents in the area. Charged with securing people, funding, and interest, the Town of Normal was approached and funding was secured from the Town of Normal Community Development Department.

In June of 2003, 1,500 Square Feet was secured at 632 Orlando Avenue in Normal for the community center. A block party was held as a part of the grand opening to get families to register for programs. The community center was later named that year, by the youth attending the Out of School program. A child wrote out UNITY in all capital letters and was voted unanimously as the name of the community center. The tag line following "the best place yet" was also added by the youth. When Unity first opened it was primarily focused on the residents in the immediate area. After a successful first year pilot, the programs were offered to all adults and youth in the Bloomington/Normal area who met income guidelines outlined by HUD.

As Unity's Out of School Time program continued to grow, the 1,500 square foot room was no longer sufficient to meet the needs of the community. With record attendance and a growing waiting list to attend the out of school time program, U of I Extension and Town of Normal wrote a grant in the spring of 2008 asking State Farm Insurance to invest in the community center's expansion needs. In November of 2008 State Farm awarded Unity the funds to rent and renovate the 3,000 square foot suite next to the already existing Unity building. Local Carpenters, Laborers, Plumbers, and Electrician unions provided free renovation to the new portion of the building. After four months, Unity moved into the larger portion of the building June 29, 2009

Unity has continued to grow through the important collaborations it has made throughout the community. It would not be where it is today without the community owning the success of this program.

The Unity Community Center is here to offer innovative life skill programming to adults and youth; Unity involves the entire community through volunteerism. We work with many fields such as: social work, education, non-profit development, technology, horticulture, culinary arts, music, and the arts. There are opportunities for all members of this community and beyond to apply their skills and talents at Unity for the benefit of the community.