A Brief History
In 1992 Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward founded The Discovery Center (now known as RE-Center). Paul and Joanne created a camp for children with disabilities to come together with their non-disabled peers, and throughout the years, recognized that young people from different racial categories were still choosing to self-segregate, even though they shared other identities. This awareness marked the first evolution of The Discovery Center, as an organization dedicated to diversity, tolerance, and inclusion.
The organization focused on the premise of contact theory, which focused on the importance of bringing together and celebrating young people from various backgrounds. It is here that staff began to form powerful relationships with their students, prompting educators to ask for support with their student engagement and relationship building in the classroom. All of this work, led to a lot of learning in the field of diversity, leading us to recognize the inherent limitations in approaching inequities from this space. By the late 2010’s we re-prioritized to a racial equity lens that recognized the root of the problem as racism. During this stage, we began to work with educators and other school staff to educate them on the way oppression shows up culturally, how it affects their behaviors and interactions with young people, how they internalize those beliefs, and how those beliefs show up in their schools' culture, policies and practices.
RE-Center has taken all our learnings and failures over the past 29 years and evolved. Our programming is geared around a vision of an equitable and just world where all youth have what they need to grow and thrive. Our goal is to create an ecosystem of empowered students supported by conscious, critically thinking adults, and supportive and safe schools and communities.
We provide educational communities (schools, school districts, and education-focused groups or organizations) adult professionals and youth development programs, technical assistance, coaching, and consulting that grows their racial equity lens and practice so they may affect and enact systemic change.
We recognize that our story is ever evolving as we continue this journey.