Empowering Young Mothers to Achieve Academic Success

dc.contributor.authorGaleziowski, Debbie
dc.description.abstractI interned as a tutor at The Care Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts this past summer. The Care Center is an alternative education program for young mothers who have dropped out of High School. Everyday young women who become pregnant drop out of school. Many leave behind the plans they had made for their academic futures. Dropping out of High school to care for their baby may seem like the only option available, but most often leads to a bleak future of economic insecurity. Many of these young women face extreme poverty, homelessness, domestic violence and food insecurity. The Care Center is a place where young mothers can study for their HISET, High School equivalency exam while addressing many the social needs they may be experiencing. The Care Center recognizes the barriers to academic success that these young women encounter. The Care Center provides child care, transportation, an on- site medical provider, social workers, bi-lingual educators and breakfast and lunch every day. My purpose each day was to work one-on-one with students on specific exam preparation. I learned to navigate the different personalities and learning styles of the students. Being a non-traditional student myself was very helpful in developing learning relationships. Mount Holyoke prepared academically to tutor the students, and the classes, and resources available to me here have been invaluable. As an Anthropology major, the coursework I have taken has helped me to understand the community I worked within. Reflecting on my time at The Care Center the most valuable lesson I learned is that you need to meet people where they are at. A young mother needs more than just coursework to be successful in continuing her education. The Care Center breaks down the barriers and inspires young women to fulfill their dreams.
dc.description.panabstractThis panel will bring light to the challenges and rewards of working closely with a community-based organization. Over the summer we interned for a variety of organizations in the New England area that are committed to social justice and advocacy. These organizations offered educational, mental health, and emotional support to marginalized groups including LGBTQ youth, incarcerated men, psychiatric patients, and young mothers. Though our internships varied in the types of services offered and populations that they supported, each organization emphasized the importance of helping people develop skills to uplift themselves and others through peer support and group empowerment. In various ways, we all encountered the challenges of navigating close-knit community spaces as an outsider, engaging people on an emotional level while maintaining professional boundaries. We invite you to join us as we talk about our journeys navigating community spaces, balancing human bonds and adhering to professional realities.
dc.titleEmpowering Young Mothers to Achieve Academic Success
dc.title.alternativeBalancing Human Bonds and Professional Realities


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