If you were to create a plan to break the cycle of poverty in Holyoke, Massachusetts, what would it look like? We think it would look like The Care Center, an alternative education program designed to prepare and empower teen mothers to embrace their education and create a successful future for themselves and their families.
Inspired by the work of some of our nation’s most renowned college preparatory schools, The Care Center is built upon more than twenty years of innovative high-quality programming, experimentation, and constant evaluation. We are deeply committed to learning at The Care Center. We study best practices in the field of education, and we adapt as relevant and powerful new approaches emerge.
Over the years, we’ve developed a strong formula for success. Expectations of both students and staff at The Care Center are high and we are pleased to report that everyone, time and time again, rises to the occasion. High support supplements our programs with a focus on child care, early childhood education, parenting and nutrition classes, and college prep counseling. And the results are in: each year, an average of 80 percent of our graduates go on to college. Our programs are achieving outstanding empirical outcomes.
But the numbers are only part of the story. We see the day-to-day transformation that occurs for young women at The Care Center. We see the spark in a young woman’s eyes when she realizes she’s smart and capable. We observe students standing taller and walking more confidently after they pass a segment of the GED examination. Our hallways are lined with photos of rowing teammates, proud and smiling, after they’ve won a heat of the annual Young Parents Regatta. And we’re inspired when we overhear clusters of animated students debating about Plato or world religions.
This kind of human transformation is at the heart of our work at The Care Center, though it is more difficult to measure. A new and better future is being built for young mothers and their children. Their lives will never be the same. And neither will ours.