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The Care Center is a finalist for national recognition

Date: 5/24/2011

May 25, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE — The Care Center is in the running for a $10,000 grant and recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Holyoke youth program is one of the 50 finalists out of 471 nominees for the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award chosen by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Since 1986, The Care Center, according to its Web site, has been an alternative education program designed to help pregnant and parenting teens, who have dropped out of high school. Between 75 and 80 percent of the students who complete the General Educational Development test program go on to college. Enrollment is about 120 students annually.

According to the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Web site, the selected organizations in the Youth Award program all "offer high-quality and intensive instruction on weekends, afternoons and summer vacations, providing a safe and productive space for young people in the hours when they are often the most vulnerable. Their carefully focused projects supplement in-school curricula with exposure to a wide variety of artistic and scholastic pursuits."

Care Center officials will learn by the end of June if they are among the 10 programs to receive the grant. In addition to the grant, the winning program will receive "a full year of capacity-building and communications support, designed to make their organizations stronger."

The Care Center's humanities programming, including The Clemente Course in the Humanities, which is a free college course for Care Center students and other low-income women, was one of the reasons it was selected as a finalist.

"We have a long tradition of providing high-quality arts and humanities programming to low-income youth in Holyoke and we are thrilled to be recognized nationally for our ground-breaking work. The lessons offered in moral philosophy or art history or political history are incredibly valuable to all people, those of means and those living in poverty. We are committed to providing access to this important human knowledge," Executive Director Anne Teschner said.

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