The streets of Huntington Green were desolate of dreams. Thirteen years ago, when Anne Crawford and others began coming alongside families and children in the neighborhood to help with literacy skills, the concept of a teenager finishing high school was nearly nonexistent. The dropout rate was 95 percent.
But God began planting seeds of possibility. Caterpillar Ministries offered the love of Jesus and relationships were built, trust took root and hope grew. Encouragement was poured into one child at a time. Nurturing adults met with teens to inspire them to envision futures for themselves. Students were tutored in math, reading, science and more. And beyond academic scores, self-confidence rose to new heights.
A few high school seniors were cheered on as they applied to college and then celebrated as acceptances came in. Serving in the military also brought applause, as students committed to futures bigger than themselves. Younger children began to believe, too, as they watched older brothers and sisters break generational cycles of settling for less. Defeat no longer was acceptable — victory came with faith, hard work and perseverance.
Community grew even more around fostering family success — God-centered living with a priority on education — and student achievement. Caterpillar Ministries grew in numbers of volunteers to be adult mentors, and a college team formed to walk middle- and high-schoolers through the process of choosing a path of study, or vocational training.
Today, the graduation rate in Huntington Green is nearly 100 percent. June is ripe with opportunity, as diplomas are received and dreams soar!