The Care Center was founded in 1986 as a GED program for pregnant and parenting teens. Initially located in the Holyoke Hospital, the program was established to address the high teen pregnancy rate in Holyoke. Parenting classes and a GED program were the main features of this program.
Holyoke has one of the highest high-school dropout rates in the state of Massachusetts. The city also has one of the lowest literacy rates. But despite those discouraging statistics, some wonderful things are happening. At The Care Center, more than 80% of the young mothers who pass their high school equivalency exam (GED) are going on to college!
Currently, four main programs are held under the umbrella of The Care Center; The Care Center Education Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens; Rowing Strong, Rowing Together; The Clemente Course in the Humanities; and The Teen Resource Project.
We have come to understand that all students have intellectual hunger and capacity. To assume anything less would be misguided. Not only can these young women succeed, they must -- for themselves, their children, their community, and the health of the nation. The team of talented and committed staff at The Care Center has crafted an educational experience that re-kindles teen mothers' native interest in learning. And we believe that every one of us deserves the opportunities that a good education provides.
The Care Center has evolved substantially since its inception. In 1998, the New Directions philosophy was implemented. The main components of that philosophy were that 1) we have high expectations of every student who comes to The Care Center 2) we study and model ourselves after the most effective college prep schools in the country, and 3) we offer a rich curriculum including the humanities and athletics in addition to math, science, history, and literature.
Approximately 120 students attend The Care Center Education Program each year on an open enrollment basis. There are four GED classrooms (two taught in English and two in Spanish), a poetry and creative writing class, an art class, computer classes, parenting education, career exploration, ESL, a rowing program, and a comprehensive athletic program.
The Education Program was later augmented with Rowing Strong, Rowing Together, a rowing program created in conjunction with Mount Holyoke College. Since 1998, a college course, The Clemente Course in The Humanities, has been offered at The Care Center. We also operate The Teen Resource Project, an after-school teen pregnancy prevention program, now 17 years old.
For more information about the CARE Center, please visit the CARE Center website.