Addams, Jane (1860–1935)
Jane Addams (1860–1935)
“The child becomes largely what he is taught, hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live,” said Jane Addams. Addams was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1860. In her time, people thought women should stay home and take care of their families. But Addams did not want to stay home; she wanted to follow her own dreams.
Addams’s father was a rich man. He sent her to college and wanted her to learn, but he did not want her to work. This upset Addams. She thought that it was important to choose work that helped others. Then her father died. She was so sad that her family suggested that she go on a trip with her friend Ellen Gates Starr. The two women visited London, England. It was a big city like Chicago. Both cities had slums, neighborhoods where poor families were crowded together. Many needed help.
Addams and Starr were told about a place where poor people could get help. It was called a settlement house. It was a place where neighbors helped neighbors. Students and other caregivers lived in the center. Neighbors who needed help went there to get it.
Addams and Starr liked what they saw. They decided to open a place like it in Chicago. And that’s what they did. It was called Hull House.
From the beginning, every neighbor was welcome in Hull House. It was a place for the young and the old. Boys, girls, men, and women were welcome. And so were people of every race and religion. It was a kindergarten, a day-care center, and a place to find a job. It was a school, an art gallery, and even a theater. Addams made Hull House the best neighbor anyone could have.
Addams had followed her dreams. She helped many children and adults have better lives. Jane Addams lived and worked in Hull House until her death. But even then, Hull House kept going. Today, it is still a place where neighbors help neighbors.
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