Centro Comunitario Juan Diego (CCJD) is a grassroots organization located in Southeast Chicago and serving the people  of
the South Chicago neighborhood(83rd to 95th Street, South Chicago Avenue to Lake Michigan.) It originated in the mid
-1980s when a group of eight Latino women began meeting as a Christian Base Community (CBC). Emboldened by their faith
and compelled by the myriad of societal problems they saw around them, they committed themselves to the work of social
and economic change.At first, they joined committees for school reform and for better health services, and they helped to
institute block-clubs to increase neighborhood safety.

"We started in the local high school," Maria Urrutia, one of CCJD's founders and the volunteer coordinator of Juan Diego's
"Mujer a Mujer" breast cancer initiative, remembers. "We began  to take action as we noticed that our children in fourth grade
could not read or write, that the teen-pregnancy level skyrocketed and that only 40 percent of teenagers graduated from
high school. It was, and continues to be, a depressing situation." According to the "2003 School Report Card," the drop out
rate at Bowen High School is 39.5", indicating that the graduation rate is improving, but remains low.By 1993, when Centro
Comunitario Juan Diego set up shop on current Executive Director Olivia Hernandez's front porch, many of the
Spanish-speaking residents of South Chicago were openly expressing their sense of outrage and despair at their cultural,
linguistic and economic isolation, especially those most vulnerable to exploitation; the undocumented. Then as now, the
underlying goal of all their efforts was a recognition for the need to develop self-empowerment and self-determination,
especially among women in theLatino Community. In 1994, Centro Comunitario Juan Diego was incorporated in the state of
Illinois, and in 1996 it obtained the 501(c) (3) not -for-profit status. In the years since, the number of its staff and volunteers
has grown from eight to more than 70.