Strong relationships are built between Center that CARES, parents, and public school officials. Academic mentoring, building GPA levels, and emphasis on social behavior ensure life successes. CARES has found that a multi-layered approach best achieves this. Each year, CARES assists in the academic progress and social development of 20-25 young adults (who are 15-19 years in age, in grades 9-12). Through academic tutoring, career counseling, college and vocational school admissions assistance, and enrichment seminars, students are prepared for life after high school graduation.
Since inception in 2000, over 100 CARES alumni have graduated from high school. Several of our alumni are currently matriculating in colleges and universities across the United States. Many of our young adults have completed their bachelor’s degrees and returned to Pittsburgh as successful professionals in the corporate and nonprofit communities. Some of our alumni have even gone on to pursue graduate studies.
As STEM curricula has been implemented to help boost academic success and begin career exploration, Center that CARES at the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center follows the STEAM programming to tailor to all of the children’s talents and abilities. With the integration of the Arts, middle and high school students explore and showcase their creative side. Cultural enrichment has been achieved through the various electives and trips offered at our after-school program. Electives are our creative approach to address STEAM components, like social media campaigns, community involvement and culinary arts, and projects that incorporate and enhance their academic studies and promote healthy lifestyles.
Track 3 is designed to increase the opportunities for local college-bound teens and young adults by ensuring that they are Pittsburgh Promise ready, as well as exposing them to enrichment seminars and cultural activities. Our students have visited colleges and universities, both near and far, to gauge their interests and develop preference for their future academic endeavors. Students are given tours by campus official and have a chance to sit in classrooms, eat in dining halls and attend campus events. At these different higher education institutions, students learn about each school, their respective histories, current majors and minors, athletics and unique fun facts. Students meet and interact with current students and have their questions answered about everything from the admissions process to class selection and campus life.
Although early exposure to academic options after high school has been of great aid, we also strive to actively prepare students for careers, from their first summer job to their dream job. Youth are prepared for life beyond CARES through standardized testing preparation, assistance with scholarships, job interviews, and resume preparation. This is done with weekly sessions that focus on career and college readiness. Workshops provide assistance with structure and creation of resumes, cover letters and how to conduct themselves in an interview. Students are also given the opportunity to meet those who are in the process or have already attained and traveled similar career goals and paths. Professionals provide insight and advice through discussions and tours of their workplace. Students are granted the opportunity to ask professionals about necessary and suggested steps relevant to their desired careers.
In keeping with our vision, Center That CARES is determined to continuously instill our young leaders to become beacons of change. CARES is proud to serve as a platform and introduce students to let their voices be heard. With this being said, CARES provides opportunities for children and parents to play an integral part in change that directly affects them. Students have also been involved in the Hill District and surrounding communities through service, legislative and monthly community meetings.