Vision, Mission & Values

Our Vision

Through access to high quality education from early childhood through college, all children in East St. Louis will no longer live in poverty.

AboutUs1Our Mission

The mission of Join Hands ESL is to empower the people of East St Louis, to walk in solidarity with those we serve, showing love and compassion to those in need, affirming and reflecting the beauty and potential of each individual. We build personal relationships with children and families through our youth programming, mentoring programs and the Ubuntu Center for Peace. We prioritize and support through our programs the pursuit of education as a pathway out of poverty.

We seek to achieve this mission through….

Relationships and Friendships –  as we have learned that this is what matters most and is the foundation for truly making a difference!

Youth Programming


Efforts towards justice, systemic change, breaking the cycle of poverty

  • The Alternative Education Program
  • The Dream Path Program
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy around issues of import to the community
  • Education Advocacy

Within the context of the Ubuntu Center for Peace

Recognizing the harsh reality of life in poverty, the sometimes ugly reality of the violent and unjust world we live in, and based in the core belief that it needn’t be this way, the Ubuntu Center for Peace is a place where people can come, to join hands and support each other, to be a spark for kindness and compassion in the world, in the spirit of Ubuntu.

Join-Hands-brochure-pics-016The Ubuntu Center for Peace is home to Join Hands ESL, its administrative offices and programs.  It is an ecumenical center where people of all faiths can come and find peace, hope and friendship.  With a focus on both personal peace and communal/world peace, as staffing and volunteer power allows, we will offer retreat days to inspire and renew, workshops and classes in nonviolence, and support groups, as well as programming and mentoring for youth and families. We will offer yoga and teach children and adults who are interested meditation as a means of stress reduction and centering. We will have a safe place, a peace chapel, holy ground, set aside, available for those times when silence and peace is needed in the midst of the chaos and violence of the world. And knowing that without justice, true peace is impossible, as resources and staffing allow, we will offer legal services, community organizing and advocacy on issues impacting our community.

Situated in one of the public housing developments of East St. Louis, it will be our goal to show love and compassion in accordance with the mission of Join Hands, to spread Ubuntu, and to join the revolution of kindness and compassion in East St. Louis.

Our Values