The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, a private foundation also known as The Chester Fund (TCF), recently announced its plan to apply to open a charter school in the Chester Upland School District.
The proposed charter school would ultimately serve students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, building on the successes of Chester Upland School of the Arts (CUSA). The school will be called Chester Charter School of the Arts.
The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts is a nonprofit organization founded by Swarthmore College music professor John Alston, who is dedicated to providing Chester’s disadvantaged children with a first-rate, arts-enriched education that will prepare them for college and success in life. Alston is also the Founder and Director of the acclaimed 120-voice Chester Children’s Chorus.
In 2008, TCF formed a partnership with the Chester school district to create CUSA, with TCF providing private funds for arts and technology programming as well as teaching assistants in every grade and an extended-day program for the older children. This year CUSA will serve 275 Chester children in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Last year CUSA had such a terrific year; the school has made so much progress both through social and academic performances,” Alston said. “The school’s fourth-graders made a twenty percent gain in reading proficiency and fifteen percent gain in math. They improved their results as third graders last year. Then in the middle of the summer, all of our staff was furloughed.”
CUSA was the latest school in the Chester Upland School District ravaged by massive reductions in the school district budget as a result of the state government’s cuts in education funding.
In the wake of these events, CUSA’s educational programs have been compromised and all but two of the classroom teachers have been laid off due to teacher-union seniority rules.
The inability to protect staff and programming was the key reason TCF decided to terminate the partnership, effective the end of the current school year (June 2012), and apply to open a charter school.
“The principal team has told us proudly that the new teachers in the building are wonderful teachers,” Alston said. “I’m glad we have extraordinary teachers in the building and after teaching with each other for one year or five years together they will be even more extraordinary. The issue is we don’t know where these teachers will be after next year; we don’t know if they will be in our building or somewhere else in the Chester Upland School District.
“The advantage of being a charter school is that you have more control over your budget and you always know a year in advance what our budget will be,” he said. “We deeply appreciate the partnership we’ve had with the district over the last three years, but also realize that to continue educating Chester children, we have to be able to design our own programs and hire and keep the best teachers. The only way to accomplish this is to apply for a charter school.”
The process has begun for the new charter school. There are currently six different locations that that are being tossed around for the school, but a definite location has yet to be determine.
The charter school will open in September 2012 pending approval of the charter application. All students in the district will be eligible to attend.
“The children’s education must come first,” said Maurice Eldridge, board chair of TCF. “We are saddened by what has happened, but we are excited about our future charter school.”
Students at Stetser Elementary in Chester spent their summer recess supporting first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative by planting and maintaining two schoolyard vegetable gardens.
Students grew two 4’ x 8’ raised garden beds featuring a variety of fresh vegetables including radishes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, string beans, zucchini and yellow squash. All of the vegetables will be incorporated into the school’s lunch program.
“Our goal was to keep students actively engaged in learning during the summer while increasing their interest in eating vegetables,” said Janet Baldwin, principal of Stetser Elementary. “Teaching them firsthand how to construct a raised vegetable garden bed and how to grow a variety of fresh vegetables proved to be a fun and exciting way to accomplish what we set out to do.
“Because we planted so late it actually worked in our favor, because the garden is still going strong right now. As kids came to work on the garden, they harvested what was there and we would send it home with them. Now that school is back in session, we picked a ton of vegetables and I gave them to our cafeteria manager, and she is working on preparing those vegetables so that we can incorporate them in our school lunches.”
Master gardeners, local environmental groups and parents provided assistance to students at scheduled summer gardening check-ins.
A student gardening club coordinated garden activities and developed the final plot plan. Students at all grade levels were involved in the project. The students will also learn in their classes about the many different ways fresh vegetables can be prepared.
A service-learning grant from Earth Force Southwestern Pennsylvania and in-kind donations from the Folsom, Pa., Home Depot covered expenses related to the gardens, including tools, supplies, plants and truck rentals.
“The kids are so excited about the garden. In today’s lifestyle a lot of children don’t get gardening experience,” Baldwin said. “I believe that the kids who were involved in the planting, harvesting and watering are now more likely to try something that they might not have otherwise. I always say to kids you can decide whether you like something or not, but you can’t decide that unless you try it.”
Students took ownership of the gardens and shared responsibility for all aspects of planting and maintenance, including constructing raised beds, mixing soil, weeding, watering and caring for the plants. The students took turns researching plant characteristics, selecting appropriate cultivars, designing a plot plan, planting seeds and seedlings, and harvesting the produce.
“We had the kids measure and put eye screws in and put string across, so that we ended up with a grid in each bed,” she said. “I surveyed kids to see what vegetables we should plant. We made a plot plan for the vegetables that we were going to plant. One of the nice things about a raised vegetable garden is since we were creating new soil we had very little weeding to do.”
Baldwin noted while this was the first year Stetser Elementary had the garden, everyone at the school is already thinking about expanding the garden in the future.
“This was our first gardening experience this summer as well as our first attempt to do it,” Baldwin added. “We do want to expand in the future. We have a big hill, which would be good for planting some vines for watermelons or cantaloupes.
“Even though watermelons take longer to grow and take up a lot of room, the kids really like watermelons. Planting pumpkins is also another option for the garden as well. I strongly believe that the more exposure the kids get from doing different projects like this, the better off they will be.”
The changing of the guard has begun in Chester City as Democratic City Council members and mayor John Linder were sworn in Tuesday morning at City Hall. Linder became the city’s first Democratic mayor since Barbara Bohanan-Sheppard served in the mid-1990s. The Democrats take control of City Hall for just the second time since 1905. Linder replaced former mayor Wendell N. Butler, who was in office for the last ten years.
Hundreds of local residents and elected officials packed Council chambers to watch the Democrats take their oath, while others watched from downstairs in the community room via a camera feed.
“I’ve been here since 1941,” said John Shelton Sr., education advocate of Chester. “Seeing Mayor John Linder being sworn into office is one of my best experiences that I had in Chester. This event could not have been done if everyone in the community did not do their part and vote. I know the community is in good hands because our mayor is home-grown.
“He’s going to do well, because we as a community want to see him succeed and we want to work with him — not against him. If we all are willing to be on one accord with each other, city council, and the mayor, we will lead Chester back into its proper place.”
Linder, who retired as a professor of Delaware County Community College since being elected mayor, will also oversee the Department of Public Affairs. The department includes the police department.
“Family is what drives me, and Chester is my family,” Linder said shortly after taking oath. “The entire city is my family. I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you. We want to do our best to make Chester a place where children can go to school to learn and get a quality education, (a place) where people can feel safe to come here and open up a business and prosper and thrive. We want the community to have a state-of-the-art police and fire department.
“We were Republicans and Democrats before the election, but after the election we are people who are working hard to continue to make Chester succeed. There are going to be times when we have problems, when we don’t agree, and when we just can’t get to the next step; that sometimes happens in families. We don’t need to be a dysfunctional family, but a family who works through those tough times together.”
Also sworn in were director of accounts and finances Nafis Nichols, controller Edith Blackwell, and director of parks and public property Elizabeth Williams. Councilwoman Portia West, two years into her term, will continue as the director of streets and public improvements. Council also appointed Joseph M. Bail as police chief and Kenneth R. Schuster and Candice Jefferson were appointed as solicitor and city clerk.
Frances G. Whittington, Larif K. Hamm, Darrell V. Jones and Rasheedah L. Myers-Lee will fill vacancies on the Chester Economic Development Authority board. Anzer Kirkland and Joan Neal were appointed to the Chester Redevelopment Authority board. Livia H. Smith was appointed to the Chester Water Authority board.
“It is truly an honor be elected onto city council and it is a feeling that I can’t explain,” Nichols said. “I want to thank the people of Chester. I will serve all of you to the best of my ability. We are all community servants, and together, will continue to make this city thrive.”
Following the ceremony, Linder led a reorganization meeting of the city council where council appointed William A. Jacobs to fill the seat left vacant by Linder’s election to mayor. Jacobs was immediately sworn in by Linder and Judge Lavonne Postelle.
Residents also had the opportunity to address members of city council following the meeting. Edward Lilly, pastor of White Rock Christian Church, ran against Linder in the Democratic primary. He told the audience that no matter what problems may endure in the future, the community should stay united and not divided.
“If we don’t divide ourselves we will stand united,” he said. “I know that many people in Chester know that John and I ran in the primary against each other. While many people had questions about that, at the end of the day John was still a member of White Rock and I was still his pastor. If the city follows that example, that we can disagree without being disagreeable and remain friends — and remain together as a community — it will work out.”
Keystone Mercy Health Plan and Dentex Dental Group, a Philadelphia-based dental care company, are teaming up to bring a new mobile dental health program called “Chester Smiles” to residents in the city.
The 42-foot mobile vans staffed with experienced dental professionals and outfitted with a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art dental equipment will soon be traveling throughout Chester to provide quality dental care to the 34,000 residents who live in the area.
The vans are scheduled to be parked at primary care physician offices, community housing locations and government facilities. Appointments will be accepted, in addition to walk-ins. Many types of insurance will be accepted, and those who are unable to pay can work out payment arrangements.
“Chester Smiles is designed to improve access to quality dental care, reduce emergency room utilization for preventable dental issues and to introduce the concept of a ‘dental home’ that will provide continuity of care for those who need it most,” said Larry Paul, DDS, director of Keystone Mercy Dental.
“The majority of Chester residents have no access to dental care. Chester and its residents are very important to us and we want to raise dental care awareness in the city. Our goal is to provide the very best dental care for our subscribers as well as the people who do not have dental insurance.”
In 2009, U.S. residents made 800,000 visits to the emergency room for preventable dental conditions like toothaches, according to a recent report by the Pew Center on the States. This number represents a 16 percent increase over 2006. The study attributed the increase to the issues that underserved populations experience in receiving access to regular preventive care from dentists.
The study went on to suggest, “in 2009, 56 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children did not receive dental care—not even a routine exam. The access problem is driven by multiple factors, including a shortage of dentists in many areas of the U.S. and the fact that many dentists do not accept Medicaid-enrolled children.”
In the city of Chester, there are currently 11,500 Medicaid members. There are only three dental offices that serve the city including the Saltz Dental Center, Campus Dental Center, and the ChesPenn Health Services. The mobile access to dental care that Chester Smiles will provide will complement the work of established providers in the area that provide dental services.
“I think it’s a great idea that Keystone Mercy and Dentex will be teaming up with Chester to offer more dental services to its residents,” said Nicole Hudson, resident of Chester. “Even though I have health insurance through my job, it doesn’t cover dental. Having something like this will help me out tremendously, because it is expensive to get a regular dental checkup every year, especially without insurance.
“This mobile will not only help people like myself who don’t have dental insurance, but it will also give another option in addition to the dental offices,” she added. “I think the mobile will not only be successful, but it will also help people live a healthier life.”
The Chester Fund (TCF) recently announced it has been approved to open a charter school in the Chester Upland School District.
In January, the Chester Upland School Board voted to deny TCF’s application to open a charter school. In the spring, TCF brought an appeal before the Charter School Appeal Board in Harrisburg. The Appeal Board made its decision on July 24. The school will be called The Chester Charter School of the Arts (CCSA) and will open September 10.
“It was a long process for us in order to get the final approval to open up a charter school,” said Don Delson, vice-chair of the Chester Fund Board. “But we stayed the coarse and remained positive through it all. I am extremely happy about the decision the Appeal Board made and I’m looking forward to the kids in Chester receiving a quality education. They have great potential and deserve to realize it.”
The new school, which will be at 200 Commerce Drive in Aston, will start off with Kindergarten through the sixth grade. The school will continue to add a grade each year. Pre-Kindergarten will start in 2013. The funds raised for the charter will provide specialized arts and academic programming. Students in the Chester Upland School District are eligible to attend.
“The education that we offer all of the kids in the United States is not good enough,” said John Alston, founder of TCF. “The education that is being offered in struggling communities is shameful. It’s unacceptable that the kids with the least support receive the worst education. For years, I dreamed about excellent schools for all of the kids of Chester, and I know I’m not done until every kid in Chester has that opportunity.”
In 2008, TCF formed a partnership with the Chester Upland School District to create the Chester Upland School of the Arts (CUSA). Last fall, CUSA’s educational programs were compromised and 70 percent of CUSA’s staff was furloughed because of massive cuts in the school district budget and state education funding. TCF later decided to terminate the partnership with the district and apply to open a charter school.
In addition to the core curriculum, the school will have classes in theater, music, dance, Spanish, studio art and computer technology. An extended after-school program in academics and the arts will begin in January 2013. About 320 students will be enrolling this fall. Anna Hadgis will serve as principal of CCSA.
“The students who attend our school will be able to read about the Harlem Renaissance,” Alston said. “They will be able to study the transformation of the Black middle class, learn the early music of Duke Ellington, play jazz and the blues, and see paintings of artists during that time period. We want our sixth- and seventh-graders to have a whole semester of studying Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. During that semester, we would want the students to write a five-minute dialogue between Dr. King and Thomas Jefferson and perform it in front of the class.
“These are just some of the things that we want to do at our school. Our goal is to have the integration of academic work and the arts programs. The music teachers will be working very closely with the classroom teachers, so that they can develop themes and projects that the children will experience both in the classroom and in the arts program. We want our students to understand that there is always a social context for their art.”
The Chester Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) honored two Widener University librarians for their work to preserve the history of the organization and the Civil Rights movement in the city of Chester. They were honored on April 27 at the 101st Annual NAACP Chester Branch Awards Dinner.
Jan Alexander, archivist and reference librarian, and Jill Borin, assistant archivist and reference librarian at the Wolfgram Memorial Library at Widener, received the George T. Raymond Freedom Award for preserving the historic papers of George T. Raymond, the man for whom their award is named.
“I am deeply honored to have received this award,” Alexander said. “The Raymond papers are such a huge part of history and are a very valuable historical resource. There is a movement across Pennsylvania to preserve Black history in the state. The Raymond papers are a perfect example of what needs to be preserved.”
In the 1950s, Raymond received an award for his work in the field of human rights from Thurgood Marshall, then chief of the NAACP's legal staff. Marshall went on to become a Supreme Court Justice.
Raymond was also an activist for civil rights. He marched on Washington in 1963 with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; co-founded the Boys' Clubs of Chester under the auspices of the "Negro-Y-Council,'' a branch of the YMCA of Chester, and was a familiar face on picket lines and at court proceedings.
Raymond received numerous awards from social groups, civic organizations, government councils, and local and state branches of the NAACP for his service in the fight for equal rights. The George T. Raymond Freedom Award was established in his name by the NAACP in the early 90s.
The award is given every year to someone in Chester who has helped improve the quality of life for the citizens of Chester. Raymond served as president of the Chester NAACP for 25 years including during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He died in 1999.
“Raymond…virtually founded the modern Civil Rights Movement in Chester,” said John McLarnon, author and historian. “He worked for more than thirty years to insure that state laws prohibiting racial discrimination were enforced. Raymond fought the city administration, the school board, the courts, and one of the most powerful political machines in the history of the state. Largely through his efforts, Chester was transformed from a totally segregated city to a city where Blacks could expect fair treatment in employment, housing, and education.”
Both Alexander and Borin scanned and digitized hundreds of documents, newspaper clippings, and photographs from three scrapbooks which were part of the Raymond papers that were donated to the university by his family in 2009. Two of the scrapbooks, created by Raymond, chronicled the Civil Rights Movement in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s.
The third book, created by Patricia Taylor for the Chester NAACP, captures the tumultuous year of 1963–64, which drew national attention to the city. They also scanned numerous additional documents that were part Raymond’s collected papers.
“When we received these papers, I realized what a treasure trove of history they contained,” Borin said. “I was so pleased to have the opportunity to make them available to researchers. Raymond has made a huge impact on the city of Chester. He should be remembered for his accomplishments and that is what the Raymond papers are all about; having people learn about Raymond as an activist and man.”
With the scarcity of Black and other minority owned banks and financial institutions in Chester and the surrounding areas, perhaps it would be best to look at the strongest, wealthiest, most influential institutions in our community, “the city’s Black churches.”
Many churches already own much property. Some have wisely diversified into housing, other businesses, are profitable in stocks, bonds, and other monetary securities investments. Now is the time for Black and other minority churches to become involved in projects that will have a positive effect on the city’s Black population as a whole.
Unfortunately in Chester’s case, the repeated, destructive actions of a few thugs have had a detrimental effect on the city. In many cases their ill deeds have caused irrevocable harm, making it harder and often nearly impossible for existing businesses and small start-up minority vendors and disadvantaged persons to attract investors and secure loans due to the high collateral requirements. A seemingly unconcerned, divided, mostly Black city population only exacerbates the problems, but with the help of God, the leadership of the churches, plus the wholehearted cooperation and goodwill of all the peoples of Chester, the city’s problems can and will be resolved.
They tell the tale about a farmer walking along a country road with his son.
The son took his slingshot and fired a stone at a donkey beside the road. The donkey brayed and fled. The boy then let fly at a turkey, which rolled over and died. The boy then took aim at a beehive in a tree, but the farmer grabbed his son’s arm and said, “No, son, don’t shoot them, they’re organized.” All those who live in Chester should take a lesson from the bees! The churches should be the catalyst for change, unity and organization. Here’s how it could work:
Area and city churches would form a joint supercommittee, establish a non-profit corporation that would research, develop and operate businesses that would provide jobs, encourage home ownership, instill pride and improve morale. The wages paid to city workers would reciprocate throughout the area while at the same time help Chester acquire a larger monetary tax base.
This super board, composed of knowledgeable, well-informed members from all the churches who are part of the corporation, would erect and perform all the requirements needed when and wherever, operate as one entity governed by agreed-upon rules and laws set by all the church members of this confederation. Community involvement and operating capital could be achieved by offering “penny stock” at 50 cents to $1 per share, and other methods could be devised that would achieve the same purposes, that of allowing those who have few discretionary funds to be a part of this community organization. This would encourage church members to unify, save money, and engage in their own business at the same time. It’s a “win-win” for everyone.
This is not some pie-in-the sky scheme. The Rev. Jake built a religious/business empire in Texas, Bishop Wilson in Illinois, and many others throughout the world. These projects operate successfully, make money, and help the whole community.
Joseph L. Granger is director of MBD-M (Minority Business Developers/Mentors) in Chester.
After months of rhetoric, television advertisements and campaign rallies, Delaware County residents stood in long lines on Tuesday to vote for presidential candidates President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
Delaware County’s 397,773 registered voters had the chance to choose candidates ranging from president to state office. Of the 397,773 registered voters, 176,252 are Republicans and 174,890 are Democrats, which leaves 46,631 registered with other parties or without affiliation.
“One of the first things that I did on Tuesday was vote,” said Boothwyn resident Wendell Sammons. “My kids came into town Monday night, so that they could vote here on Tuesday. We all want a better future and economy. I was pleased with what President Barack did during his first time and I’m looking forward to him building on that.”
In September, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson blocked Pennsylvania’s controversial voter identification law from taking effect during this year’s election.
The law would have required voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Despite the ruling on the voter ID law; there have been issues at polling places in Chester.
“A lot of polling places were telling people that they need to have their ID,” said Chester Democratic Committee chairperson Livia H. Smith. “Some places were even turning people away. The law in Pennsylvania states that they can ask residents for ID, but you can’t turn them away. We have been helping the residents with this by advising them and having them call a number to report this. Despite the obstacles, it has not stopped the residents for fighting for their right to vote.”
Both campaigns have assembled legal teams to leap into action at any hint of voting irregularities, like voting machine malfunctions, allegations of voter intimidation and challenges to the legitimacy of absentee and “provisional” votes.
“The legal teams were set up as a precautionary measure; we wanted to make sure everyone’s right to vote would be exercised and no one would be turned away from the polls,” said Sandi Townsend of Organizing for America. “There have been so many different issues surrounding this particular election. Our job was not only to get people to show up at the polls, but to also keep them informed on everything. The only way to make sure everything goes smoothly during the election process is to have things in place if something does go wrong.”
Staging location director of Organizing for America Delores McLamb believes that this presidential election isn’t just about the issues of the country, but also the youth needing to know about their history.
“A lot of our youth don’t really understand the importance of this election or the issues that we as a society are facing,” McLamb said. “We as parents and a society it’s our job to not only keep the youth informed, but also ourselves. People can stand in line for 10 hours for materialistic things, but they also need to be willing to stand in line for what they believe.
“In order to make history, we have to keep informing the youth about history. If you succumb to what everyone else is doing, then they will keep doing it. The best way to fight back is through voting - it is your constitutional right.”
Thirty children between the ages of 8 and 14 participated in a clinic called Hugs not Drugs in Chester. The clinic was held at the George E. Carter Boys and Girls Club, sponsored by The Mission Project.
“A lot of our kids are being told they will not accomplish anything, and a lot of our young men aren’t being raised by their fathers,” said Darren Laws, founder and president of the mission. “Some of these kids don’t know what it feels like for a loved one to hug them. The program Hugs not Drugs was about inspiring kids in Chester. A lot of people don’t know that just a simple hug or a word of encouragement can go along way. For a lot of these kids, it makes the difference.”
Established in 2010, the Mission Project is a nonprofit agency based in Chester. The program offers workshops on gang prevention, conflict resolution, gun violence education, intervention training, and money investment. The program also offers mentoring and motivational speaking services.
“I’m a community service specialist and court representative for Delaware County and Glen Mills, so I was seeing a lot of our young men and women getting locked up and not making the best decisions,” Laws said. “A lot of these kids aren’t bad kids, they just don’t have any guidance or a structured home. I started the organization to address some of those issues.
“Chester is not the only city that has problems with violence and drugs. These are issues that are happening everywhere, so we’re reaching out to other communities like Upper Darby and Philadelphia. We’re also getting the parents involved, because awareness about these issues starts at home. I know I’m not going to be able to save everyone, but I will try my best to save the majority of them.”
The event included workshops on underage drinking, drugs, leadership, and self-esteem. The guest speaker of the event was Michael Cooper, who was recently released from jail after serving 17 years. He is the nephew of former heavyweight boxer Bert Cooper.
“The kids didn’t know that Michael Cooper was the guest speaker, so when they heard his story they were shocked, but they were listening,” said James Saad Blackwell, senior vice president of the mission. “They interacted with him and asked him questions about his life and what he went through. It was an experience that they definitely won’t forget. This program is all about reaching kids before they go down the wrong path. I’ve made some mistakes in my life, we all have, but these kids don’t have to make those same mistakes. They deserve a chance, but most of all they need our love and support.”
Crozer-Keystone’s Chester Youth Collaborative (CYC) was named the winner of a national award from Amerinet, a leading health care solutions organization, in the category of Community Impact and Innovation at the organization’s annual Healthcare Achievement Awards.
The initiative was one of three health systems presented with this award.
Amerinet created its Healthcare Achievement Award program to recognize organizations that make efforts to reduce costs, improve quality and serve the community.
This year, Amerinet received the largest number of entries in company history. The awards event was held in St. Louis.
“Entries for this award are carefully evaluated by a panel of expert judges, and superior member performance was identified in a variety of categories — from improvement in financial management and operational efficiencies to patient quality and community impact,” said Janet S. Riley-Ford, director of CYC. “All Amerinet members are eligible, and projects are received from many types of acute and non-acute care facilities, large and small, rural and urban.”
The CYC was launched in 2005 with a start-up grant from the William Penn Foundation. The CYC’s mission is to foster a neighborhood-based youth development network that enhances the quality of life and increases opportunities for youth between the ages of 12 and 22 in the city of Chester.
The CYC is divided into four councils, with each council responsible for specific areas of work to advance the mission of the Collaborative. A steering committee, comprised of representatives from all four groups, provides oversight for the efforts of the Collaborative.
“I have watched the CYC grow and develop into a nationally recognized program and I am very proud of the work they do,” said Gwen Smith, president of Springfield Hospital and vice president of Crozer-Keystone. “These dedicated men and women work tirelessly to improve the lives of young people in the community and give them goals and a plan for the future.”
Each winning facility receives two complimentary trips to the 2012 Amerinet Member Conference in Las Vegas and scheduled to be honored at a special awards dinner — preceded by an address by the keynote speaker, Mark Kelly, NASA commander and husband of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
“It’s wonderful to have the work we do recognized nationally by Amerinet,” said administrative director of the Wellness Center, Kate Blackburn. “The Chester Youth Collaborative’s efforts are designed to impact the community on multiple levels: to improve outcomes among youth, to improve the quality and number of resources available to help youth develop skills for work and life, and to inform local policy to support youth. The work we do is complex and challenging, and it wouldn’t be possible without our network of committed partners. This award is a tribute to the staff of the CYC and to our partners as well.”