Lucy Parson’s Center Boston is a registered charity that operates five community development centers. These centers are located in the Boston neighborhoods of Back Bay, Chinatown, Beacon Hill, South End, and West End. In recent years, the Center has been expanding its services to include day care and after-school programs. Currently, there are five centers located in Boston. All of the locations are operated by the American Red Cross.
The bilingual literacy program that the Center offers is one of the most comprehensive in the country. This program offers parents the resources they need to help their children with reading and writing skills while they are in the womb. The program works by training new parents on what to expect during early pregnancy. It also trains expecting mothers on how to prepare their babies for their birth, and how to nurse, dress, and feed them.
The Reading Intervention Program instructs pregnant women on how to increase their fluency in English during their labor and delivery period. Reading Comprehension is taught through an adapted version of the Diamond System, which is a series of tests designed to measure readers’ comprehension skills during critical reading periods. Parson’s program also offers an alternative assessment called the Picture Reference Test (or PRT), which measures comprehension only. Between these two assessments, the mother will have learned several core concepts about language: sentence types, conjugation, vocabulary, grammar, reading strategies, etc. At the end of the day, the mother will have a completed core reading program and a detailed workbook to help her practice what she has learned.
At the Community Development Center, a mother and her child can participate in after-school and summer programs. At the Children’s Hospital Adult Learning Center, families with infants, toddlers, and young children can register in a intensive early childhood education program. There are also respite services and after-school programs for mothers at the Wellness Village. The Wellness Village is a residential care facility for individuals and families experiencing substance abuse, depression, anxiety, or other problems. Women and men ages 50 and up can register in the after-school program; however, single parents and children below 14 can only register for in-home programs. Both centers are staffed with professionals committed to serving their clients.
The Multi-Disciplinary Treatment and Research Training (MTRT) Program, established by the Lucy Parson Center for Health and Community Development, is focused on reducing healthcare costs. As part of the MTRT, students are trained in providing a comprehensive range of general and specialty healthcare services in a culturally-oriented environment. Students learn how to administer medication, perform vital sign monitoring, and assist in the acute management of patients. They gain insights into the role of nutrition, family health, immunology, pharmacy, and psychology in developing health care policies that promote literacy, social responsibility, economic development, and healthy environments for all residents.
The Literacy Development Project (LDP), founded by the Lucy Parson Center for Health and Community Development, bridges the gap between low literacy development and high drop-out rates in elementary school and kindergarten. The LDP seeks to ensure that every child enrolled in kindergarten has mastered basic reading skills. After kindergarten, children must be taught to participate in organized, meaningful activities to further their development in mathematics, science, and the arts. Participating in programs such as the LDP encourages children to become independent, responsible, and well-schooled. This center aims to build self-sufficiency in areas such as nutrition and health; builds a resilient educational system by promoting early childhood education; works to improve work and family skills; and develops community capacity through participation in neighborhood education activities and programs.