Chesterbrook & Dana Court Learning Centers
The Chesterbrook Community Foundation offers free after-school and evening programs for the children and teens who live in Chesterbrook Gardens and Dana Court housing developments in Waltham, MA. Programs are led by Center Directors who have professional experience with youth development & education and are supported by students from nearby Bentley University. Our programs run concurrently with the Bentley University and Waltham Public Schools academic calendars.
Each day, the Centers open their doors to participating children and teens to provide homework help and additional academic enrichment. Bentley University students work alongside the Center Directors to tutor and mentor the children in a safe and nurturing environment. The children have access to:
- Healthy snacks
- Computers, the Internet, and a printer
- A well-stocked library
- A variety of crafts, games, and sports equipment
The Learning Centers are unique because the children can come home to their own neighborhoods. Not only does this make life easier for the children and their parents, but it also means that the Learning Centers are key components of their communities. For nearly twenty years, the Chesterbrook Learning Center has been a vibrant safe haven where the children spend their time after school. The newer Dana Court Learning Center has successfully replicated this model in a new community.
Within the after-school program, we have partnered with local businesses and organizations to create special programming.
- In collaboration with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra, we started a music program at Chesterbrook in Fall 2016, which has now expanded to Dana Court, to bring free arts programs to the children.
- Healthy Waltham joins us some afternoons to spend time gardening and making healthy meals with the children, teaching them valuable skills and nutrition tips.
- At the end of October, we have a wicked time at our Halloween Party, hosted by the First Parish Church of Waltham! Our generous friends at the Jones Partnership Fund wave their magic wands to make sure this event is fully supported so that the ghouls and boos can have a great time!
Open to 8th through 12th graders twice a week, this evening program provides individual support focused focused on academic success, college preparedness, personal development, and professional aspirations. The Teen Center also features fun community events, including movie nights, scavenger hunts, cooking classes, and more.
Guyz Only is open to the 5th through 12th grade boys and connects them with male role models who encourage them to be comfortable with themselves, develop their social skills, and pursue their dreams. Through comradeship and weekly “hangouts,” the Guyz have a venue to express themselves freely in an open, inclusive, and fun environment.
The Prism Project is an engaging and interactive workshop led by women mentors for 5th through 12th grade girls. The project helps girls to achieve a higher level of self-esteem through the discovery of three core values: ambition, inner beauty, and full potential.
Through crafts, games, and other activities, the mentors collaborate with the girls to address issues such as body image, self-confidence, respect, and dreams. The Prism Project creates a safe space where girls can feel comfortable sharing their experiences, perspectives and problems, and learn from the group.