Robert Crown Center closing, instructors will visit schools instead

HINSDALE, Ill. (WLS) -- It's been a destination for class field trips in the Chicago area for 6 million students for over 40 years.

The Robert Crown Center in Hinsdale is changing course and will no longer be the place for students to go to learn about sex education and the risks of drug use.

The fifth grade boys giggled nervously, but they paid close attention. This was what their parents often called "the talk." The birds and the bees. For more than 40 years in the Chicago area, more often than not, instructors from the Robert Crown Center gave the talk.

"In fifth grade they think they know it all, which is great," said Jordan Thort, a teacher at Crystal Lawn Elementary.

But then the kids visit the center and realize they don't know it all.

"Exactly right," said Thort.

The Robert Crown Center, a non-profit that relies heavily on grants and donations, started offering classes at their center in Hinsdale in 1974. Students from eight counties in northern Illinois and Indiana got here by bus, but soon that will change.

"Because of the resource constraints, both time and money, it just makes more sense for us to come to and for us to bring our programs to the schools," said R.J. McMahon, the CEO of the Robert Crown Center.

It's been changing for a while. They currently only teach about a fourth of the classes at the center. The rest of the classes are already at schools.

"All the programs we deliver today will be delivered the same, just in school," said McMahon.

But the change still means the end of a rite of passage for many kids.

"It's interesting seeing it back when I was in 5th grade, coming back to the center to see how it's changed," said Thort.

They intend to keep teaching at the center through the end of the school year. After that, they plan to close the building for good and relocate.
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