Since 1972, El Hogar del Niño, which means the home of the child, has been serving Chicago’s predominately Latino neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village. As neighborhoods, economies, politics and communities have transformed over the decades, El Hogar has remained constant in its commitment to serve those most in need.
Although El Hogar now serves over 300 children yearly, the agency has humble roots. As the economic environment began to change in the early 1970s and more households were becoming dual-income, a group of local Pilsen mothers found themselves with new child care challenges. For many, the ideal situation was to leave their children with family, especially grandmothers. However, the reality was very different. Banding together, these devoted parents birthed the first bilingual and affordable daycare in the area. From the basement of a local church, they were able to provide a safe and educational environment for their children.
When taking up the challenge of naming the newly created child care agency, the founders committed themselves to choosing a name that would embody the hopes and dreams they had for the organization. They wanted their children to feel safe, comfortable and loved-just like being at grandma’s house. It was essential that the children be the focus, and that learning be at the forefront. Thus, the agency came to be named El Hogar del Niño.