The history of Lawrence Family Development & Education Fund, Inc. (LFDEF, Inc.) begins with the founding of the Lawrence Youth Commission (LYC). In 1988 the electorate of the City of Lawrence passed an ordinance creating the LYC under the City’s Charter. This new organization was charged with the mission of developing the educational and leadership potential of inner city youth and young adults in Lawrence. Through community service programs, youth and young adults were given an opportunity to discover their own skills and potential. As young people became assets to their community and role models for their peers, they were now seen as successful young men and women working to improve their lives and community.
During its early years the Commission’s status precluded it from private fund raising activities. This limited the scope of services the LYC could provide. To address this concern, the Lawrence Family Development & Education Fund, Inc. was established in 1992 as a separate 501(c)(3) entity designed initially to support the work of the Lawrence Youth Commission. However, the founders soon recognized that youth development could not be addressed in a vacuum and that family development must play an equal role in any plan to improve the well being of the community as a whole. As a result, a wide range of issues important to families in the City of Lawrence were examined; and programs focused on citizenship education, English as a Second Language (ESL), minority leadership and youth advocacy in the areas of higher education and career development were put into place. These programs have prepared a strong core of Hispanic leaders and focused our efforts on building a community of learners through service and educational development.
Lawrence Family Development & Education Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization working to “strengthen families and build community through education” in the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Our work encompasses youth leadership and community service programs (job training, AmeriCorps and YouthBuild) which is located at the Orange Wheeler House at 355 Haverhill Street; independent public education for children (K-1 through Grade 8) at the Lawrence Family Development Charter School located at 10 Railroad Street (K-1 through Grade 1) 34 West Street (Grades 2 through 4) and 400 Haverhill Street (Grades 5 through 8); and adult education for newcomers and immigrants at the Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center located at 404 Haverhill Street. Family Center programs have included a Parent Mobilization Project, English as a Second Language, Board Leadership Training, Family Literacy Workshops, Basic Computer Skills Training and a Citizenship and Democracy Education Project.
LFDEF, Inc.’s Board of Directors is comprised of 15 individuals representing various segments of the community including educators in the public and private sectors. The board meets a minimum of six times per year The Executive Director manages the organization as a whole, while the Principal of the charter school manages all aspects of school operation and reports to the Executive Director/Superintendent, as do other administrative and program management staff.
Click here to read the 2012 LFDEF, Inc. Annual Report.
Click here to see photos from Youth Recognition Day