Mary's Camp was born; a 9-week Summer Arts Camp out of her basement apartment. The children were taught dance, choir, music, and theater, and were taken to new and exciting places like the Field Museum, Lake Michigan's Oak Street Beach, and Lincoln Park Zoo. More importantly, Mary's camp provided a structured, loving, fun environment for the children in her neighborhood. As the children whose lives she impacted nearly ten years ago have grown, so has Mary's Camp. By the summer of 1997 the name had changed to The Miracle Center and the vision had expanded. Over the next five years, The Miracle Center became incorporated and recognized as an official non-profit organization. Mary forged numerous partnerships throughout Humboldt Park, where she ran the Summer Arts Camps. In 2002, The Miracle Center expanded its programs, offering eight week Saturday Arts activities, Christmas Break activities , carnivals and festivals for the community. The Miracle Center also opened two centers in Tampa, Florida to meet the needs of that city's youth.
In January of 2003, The Miracle Center began offering year round after-school programs for children and youth of all ages. Today, The Miracle Center is a vibrant not-for-profit whose success is driven by a visionary leader and a diverse team of experienced full and part-time paid and volunteer staff.
The year was 1995 when Mary A. Santana, founder and Executive Director of The Miracle Center, dreamt of spending more time with her son Adrian. As a single mother, Mary felt the burden of being at work and away from her child. In a complete act of faith, Mary resigned from her position as Sales Associate at Petersen Publishing to turn her desire into a reality. Initially, she wanted to tap into the gifts and talents of her son, but soon realized many other children in her neighborhood had untapped potential.