Yale students interested in reaching out to their New Haven neighbors now have an opportunity to make a difference without having to walk far from central campus.

The Dixwell-Yale University Community Learning Center, opened last spring, is the most local of Yale’s efforts at community outreach, serving a neighborhood situated a few blocks from Swing Space, almost directly north of Old Campus. The DYCLC is part of the recently dedicated Rose Center, the new home of the Yale Police Department, named after the center’s chief donor, Deborah Rose ’72 GRD ’89.

The Rose Center, built on the site of a former industrial laundry facility, had already enrolled 260 children in youth programs at the DYCLC by the time it opened. The center’s programs thus far have included one-on-one tutoring, a cartooning workshop, a soap box derby workshop and an African drum workshop for children, DYCLC Director Makana Ellis ’05 said.

“Our programs and workshops start at age eight for youth, and we provide workshops and classes for adults and seniors,” she said.

Ellis said programs for adults have included workshops for starting a small business and for first-time homebuyers. The recently released schedule for Spring 2006 includes non-traditional offerings, such as a shadow puppet workshop for youth, alongside classics such as soccer games.

Emma Freeman ’09 said that although not many Yale students are familiar with the center, those who hear about it are usually impressed by the initiative and are eager to learn more. She said awareness is the first step toward finding passionate contributors to the community.

CYCLC has hosted programs in collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery and the Center for British Art, as well as events for Dixwell community groups, other New Haven groups, and even a sorority.

Samara Fox ’09 said she has observed that students have been positively responding to the center’s outreach efforts.

“You will have a hard time finding someone who will say volunteering is a bad thing,” she said.