P.O. Box 2185
E. Saint Louis, IL 62202
(618) 489-5021

Our Mission

Griffin Center’s mission is to help the African-American families it serves, most of whom have been on welfare for generations, to break the cycle of poverty. It gives children the opportunity to increase their academic achievement, develop social skills, self-confidence, and sensitivity to others so they can move into the larger world with dignity and confidence.

Located in the often violent housing developments, Griffin Center offers a haven where young people are safe after school near their homes. The center particularly focuses on the academic achievement children will need to compete in high school, college, or some other specialized training and to find and keep jobs. As Diane Sonneman, Griffin Center’s director, puts it: “Our goal is to help some of our country's neediest children become happy, healthy, productive citizens.”


To see every child reach adulthood grounded in faith, living and engaged in a healthy community, and with the academic and social-emotional skills needed to succeed in life.


Griffin Center is nurturing – we lead children to understand that they are “precious in God’s sight” and blessed

Griffin Center is compassionate - we empathize with our families as they face the many trials and dehumanizing situations of poverty, and we promote their dignity through intentional availability, active listening

Griffin Center is empowering – we encourage children and their families to expand their vision of the potential and possibilities open to them, and we challenge them to live lives of increasing self-expectation that they can

Griffin Center is rooted in Christian faith –  we strive to make God’s love real through our actions and interactions as we journey with our families in cultivating love and respect for all and loving, respectful behavior

Griffin Center is a safe haven – we provide a haven of grace and achievement where children, whose worlds are often unpredictable, chaotic and violent, feel secure and protected by caring, nurturing adults, thus freeing

Griffin Center is collaborative – we realize villages raise children. We engage natural partners – schools, parents, child advocates and donors – in providing the supports children need to fully develop their potential.   

Griffin Center is  faithful in stewardship - through careful use of all God provides to us, and through the nurturing of natural partnerships, we leverage our lean budget to achieve a remarkable impact on children.