Carson Center Receives $112,800 Grant

WESTFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Mass. recently awarded the Carson Center for Human Services $112,800 over three years ($44,400 in the first year).

Valley Human Services, a Carson Center program based in Ware, will use the funding for its “Rooting Out Poverty in the Quaboag Valley” initiative, which seeks to end the intergenerational cycle of child poverty in the region.

In January 2004, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Western Mass. and others, published the 2003 State of the People for the Pioneer Valley report. One of the most significant problems identified in the report is the high incidence of child poverty in the Valley.

Because of the seriousness of this issue, the pervasive impact of poverty, and its tendency to be intergenerational, the Community Foundation developed a strategic initiative known as 5 & Under: Access to Opportunity for Children in Poverty, which is directed at funding programs to impact child poverty as a special focus for three to five years.

Valley Human Services (VHS) is the primary provider of human services in its region and offers both clinical mental health services and early education and child care services. VHS’ catchment area suffers from high unemployment and a lack of public transportation.

Since a lack of education is considered one of the root causes of poverty, the Carson Center designed a new program to educate adolescents and young adults age 16 to 25 who dropped out of high school and have young children ages birth to 5. The program leads to a GED and prepares clients for further education and/or employment with enough income to exceed the federal poverty guidelines by 25{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.