Empowering Young Mothers to Achieve Academic Success
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I 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.