The Marian Pritchett Booth School, for pregnant and teenage moms, has reached capacity and has come up with a little more than half of the funds needed for a new building.
Enrollment this year is at an all-time high, making for crowded classrooms. But it's the day care that has especially outgrown its space.
Without this extremely important resource, students would likely not succeed
“Over 70 percent of all teen girls that give birth will drop out of high school,” said Salvation Army Program Director Hillary Betz.
That is not the case at the Marian Pritchett Booth School, where students are graduating and 95 percent of them are pursuing a higher education.
An achievement that teacher Deborah Hedden-Nicely says wouldn't be possible without on-site day care and a place to get diapers and clothes in exchange for good attendance.
“Their education wouldn’t happen at all without that underpinning,” says Hedden-Nicely.
“Because of barriers like child care, they may have to drop out of school in order to get a job to afford diapers and wipes, things like that their baby might need,” added Betz.
This year enrollment is maxed out at 48 students, the highest the school has ever seen.
“Part of having a large enrollment of students at the school means we also have a large enrollment in the child care facility. We have over 30 children under the age of 2 currently enrolled, we had three girls deliver just last week,” said Betz.
A new piece of land has already been purchased, but until nearly $4 million is raised, the school can’t break ground.
Without a bigger campus and day care, the school cannot serve its full potential.
“We’re not able to serve as many teen parents that we know could benefit from our help, because of a lack of space in the school program,” said Betz.
“They get here and they try so hard, they work so hard. I can tell sometimes they are very sleepy because they have had two or three feedings throughout the night but they get here and they inspire me to be here every day,” said Hedden-Nicely.
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