DELRAY BEACH, FL – Milagro Center has created yet another miracle for its students. This time, the magic formula is helping them not only to succeed through high school, but also to succeed beyond graduation.
Thanks to grants from several private funders and Capital One, Milagro Center has introduced its new Transition to Success (T2S) program, designed to give its growing list of graduating students the tools they need to set them on a productive, self-sufficient career path, finally reversing the generational cycle of poverty.
Barbara Stark, Milagro Center’s President and CEO, says the T2S program will play a critical role in helping students transition from their local secondary education into the demands that come with attending college and pursuing other opportunities such as vocational school, apprenticeships or military service.
“We used to have to say ‘goodbye and good luck’ to our teen leadership graduates after high school,” Stark said. “But what we were finding is that many of the students who have been with us for years need to maintain that connection. They need their support group. It’s where they come for help and advice.”
Most of Milagro’s graduates who go on to college are considered first-generation students. These students are considered to be the first ones in their family who go beyond a high school education. In fact, 90 percent of low-income, first-generation college students don’t graduate on time, and more than a third of them drop out after only three years.
“These kids can struggle to get to school, to pay tuition and often to manage a part-time job as well,” Stark said. “That’s why so many drop out. The importance of the T2S Program is to give them support and to help them facilitate the challenging transition from high school student to college, trade school or the military.”
For the T2S Program, Stark said that they plan on hiring a part-time College Coach and Academic Tutor who will provide college and trade school prep sessions that focus on crucial areas to help them navigate their higher education challenges.
On top of all of that, Stark said that they plan to hire a part-time Career Development Manager who will help students identify possible career directions for them, as well as to help them to secure internship opportunities.
“We will be bringing in, during the senior year of high school and possibly even during the junior year, local companies to give our students internship opportunities to provide a wider scope on what some career opportunities might be,” she said. “We want to help them choose what career path in college or in trade school that they want to pursue.”
Stark said that the program is targeted for their high school seniors and Milagro Center graduates 2 years out of high school. She said that’s important, because many of these young adults need a little time to acclimate and “take flight”. “They don’t have parents who have navigated this already. They don’t have older brothers or cousins who take them under their wing and say this is how you do this.”
Marc Charles attended Milagro Center’s Teen Leadership Program and graduated from high school in 2020.
“Milagro helped me make a career decision and also find a college to go to,” Marc said. “I now attend Palm Beach State College, where I am currently on the honor roll. Managing everything and staying on track is difficult because there’s no one in my family who can help me. I still need and use the resources at Milagro Center.”
The road through college and careers can be a rocky one. That’s why the extended family of the Milagro Center intends on smoothing it out for their kids.
“We have so many parents that say over the years, you’ve helped my family as well as my children,” Stark said smiling. “That’s why we’re so thrilled about this program. We feel like we’ve given these kids so much over these years, and we want to continue that just a little bit further.”
ABOUT MILAGRO CENTER:
Established in 1997, Milagro Center is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure the social and academic success of underserved children and youth through Cultural Arts, Living Values, Academic Support, and Mentoring. Milagro Center provides afterschool and summer camp programs for children from Kindergarten through 12th grade and operates three separate Centers – the S.T.A.R.S. Center for elementary age children, the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Milagro Junior Teen Center for its middle school Junior Teen Leadership Program and the Milagro Teen Center for its high school Teen Leadership Program. Milagro Center has consistently achieved a 100% graduation rate for its high school seniors and a 100% matriculation of its third-grade students to fourth grade. For more information about Milagro Center, visit www.MilagroCenter.org or call 561-279-2970.