Hi!

By // February 26, 2015

Wow, hi!  Welcome!

Josiah and I have been working together to make LightHouse a reality since this past summer, and we’re finally ready to go public!

Hi World!  We’re opening a new educational center for teens in Holyoke.  It’s called LightHouse Personalized Education for Teens.  It’s not a school.  Rather, it’s an alternative to school.  It’s for teens who have hopes and dreams for their futures (which is everyone) and would prefer not to go to school (which is many.)

There’s about a million more things to do between now and September, but we’re working day and night to get it done.

Best thing so far: so much interest and support!  Josiah and I have been meeting with everyone in Holyoke and beyond who will stand still long enough, and I tell you, it’s like offering to host a potluck.  Everyone has something to bring and seems really excited to join us.  Super fun!

And- super terrifying! I’m leaving my much beloved, 11-year experience as program director for North Star (www.northstarteens.org) and Josiah has left 10-years at Hampshire College and is setting aside other plans and projects in order to make LightHouse happen.  We’re all in and there’s a ways to go yet to make this project fly.

Why?  Why would we put aside our reliable jobs and incomes to build this radical project? Supporting teens to live and learn without school?  What!?

Good question, and long stories.

In brief:

We both have made a career of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams and passions.  Time to walk the talk!

We know that there are teens in Holyoke whose lives will be improved through using this approach.  North Star has been supporting teens to live and learn without school since 1996.  We now have nearly 20 years of alumni who have created better lives for themselves outside of school, with North Star.  We know that this will be true in Holyoke as well.  The North Star approach is now being utilized in 10 centers across North America with great success.

Furthermore, the drop-out rate in Holyoke is 50{5b128d0e93d7a9f6330c62ad07a90d114acff0a757d73b21460feebca967f67c}.  FIFTY percent.  There’s lots being done- the superintendent and school committee and teachers and everyone are all working extremely hard to serve every teen and keep them in school.  But in the meantime, thousands of teens are slipping through the cracks.

LightHouse is not going to solve this entire problem, of course.  But it will be one of many solutions, and will change the lives of some teens.  We feel a responsibility to bring a solution that we know can work to a community who needs it.  We’re in the process of building partnerships with other public programs and nonprofits also serving teens and families in Holyoke.  There are so many wonderful people involved- we are thrilled to connect with, learn from, and collaborate with them.

There’s a renaissance happening in Holyoke.  There’s so much innovation- a whole burgeoning creative economy- and it’s very exciting.  We want to be part of it!

So welcome to our blog, our website, and our project!  Thanks for reading along, and please stay with us.  We’d love to hear from you and to talk about how you can be involved.  Comment below!  And share!

THANK YOU for joining us in bringing Education 2.0 to Holyoke.

4 Comments on “Hi!”

  1. Kathleen Dowd

    Congratulations on your beginning! Very exciting to see this in Holyoke and in the lower valley. I am confident of your success and thrilled to know non-traditional learning will be available to more students in WM.

    Kathleen

  2. katie marenghi

    Good luck cath!!! I love your passion and the energy that you put into this type of education! Those kids are lucky to have you in their corner!!!

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