Keystone SMILES Community Learning Center, Inc.

How we began

 

About Us

 

 

Our Story

In 1991, Keystone SMILES began as a school-based service-learning initiative at Keystone  Elementary School in Knox, PA.  A core group of elementary school teachers coordinated a way to combine educational objectives with service to the community.  Students learned oral and written communication skills and social studies while providing  service to area nursing homes.  With the help of partnerships, cooperation from area businesses, and individual volunteers, Keystone SMILES consistently grew by  adding more projects, expanding the program to more students, and by addressing more community needs.

 

In October of 1994, Keystone SMILES began its service mission as a grantee of the Corporation for National and Community Service to the Keystone School District in Knox, PA.  In service to Pennsylvania’s children, youth and communities, Keystone SMILES staff,     AmeriCorps members, local volunteers, and area businesses joined efforts to renovate and    establish the first of four child development centers, located in Knox.  The refurbished building project was completed and opened for business in December of 1994.  The second building was refurbished in 1996 to serve as a community learning center. The third  renovated building was a children’s center located in Emlenton, Pa and the fourth in Sharpsville, PA.  On May 12, 1995, Keystone SMILES became incorporated and is now a federally recognized charitable organization that serves as an AmeriCorps hub for northwestern Pennsylvania. The four rural centers provide educational support to over 745 families a year throughout Clarion, Venango, and Mercer Counties.

 

The commitment to establish the child development and community learning centers was an effort by Keystone SMILES, AmeriCorps, and the community to assist area residents in overcoming the limited resources that restrict services to children and families of rural communities.