Rita is an offender on parole. Like many offenders, she struggles with drug addiction, is a high school dropout, and lacks confidence in her ability to handle day-to-day challenges. Her outlook has changed, however, since she enrolled at the Donald H. Londer Center for Learning: "It [the Londer Center] makes me want to learn. It changed my whole way of thinking. I'd been on drugs so long, I didn't think I could do it. Since I started coming here, I want to come more and more." She is currently working on her reading skills, but also wants to learn how to work with computers because, as she points out, "My grandkids know how, but I don't." She also hopes to improve her job prospects. She explains, "I'm working at McDonalds now and just want to try to find a better job, but you need an education to do that."
The Londer Center has many learners like Rita. Its mission is to help these adults "develop the cognitive, communication, and functional literacy skills needed to make responsible decisions, build and sustain positive relationships, achieve goals, and realize their potential at work, with their families, and in the community." Cindy Stadel, the Londer Center's program administrator, recognizes that the Center cannot achieve this mission alone. She cites the myriad personal obstacles offenders typically face when re-entering society, such as drug/alcohol addiction, medical problems, unemployment, debt, and lack of housing, work skills, and education.
For that reason, the Londer Center staff work closely with other Department of Community Justice (DCJ) programs that are part of a comprehensive, carefully developed system that strikes a balance among sanctions, supervision, and service. The Londer Center augments the services it and other DCJ programs provide by forming partnerships with community organizations, such as drug treatment providers and One-Stop Centers, to ensure that the diverse needs of these adult learners are addressed.