Who We Are
After working as Homeless Liaison for Waco Independent School District for five years, Cheryl Pooler saw a huge problem. As she met with student after student who had been abused, abandoned, or kicked out of his or her home, she knew that they needed a safe place to go after the school bell rang each afternoon. She knew that these students deserved a chance to succeed and that the Waco community would not stand to see them fall through the cracks into chronic homelessness.
Cheryl started researching best practices around the country and found that an after school teen nurturing center was what Waco needed to ensure that these vulnerable students were empowered and equipped to graduate high school and achieve their goals. Cheryl reached out, and the community responded. In the summer of 2015, Cheryl Pooler and community volunteer Rosemary Townsend founded the Cove and formed the Board of Directors. The Cove is initially molded after the NEST in Georgetown, TX.
In October 2016, began serving its first cohort of students. In the 2016 - 17 school year, The Cove served 61 individual students. This last year, we served 76, a nearly 25% increase. In our first year, we saw 440 visits over 118 days of operation, while in the 2017 - 18 school year, we saw 1,359 visits over 138 days of operation. We are so excited about the ways in which the Cove is making an impact in the lives of students and serving the Waco community.
What We Do
The Cove is a teen nurturing center designed to provide a safe space for students experiencing homelessness to access the resources they need to thrive.
Licensed professionals and Cove volunteers provide:
- Homework help, tutors and computers
- Family-style dinners and healthy snacks
- Washer/dryer for laundry
- Shower and toiletries
- Counseling, medical and hair-cutting services
- SNAP/Medicaid Outreach
- Programming from local partners: CIS Workforce Development, Advocacy Center, Klaras Center for Families
*Services are provided Monday-Thursday, 4 - 8 p.m. during the school year*
The Cove empowers youth experiencing homelessness by:
1. Increasing the number of Cove youth who graduate with the academic and life skills necessary for college, training programs or the workforce.
2. Creating an environment that supports Cove youth to dream.
3. Decreasing Cove youth unemployment.
4. Lowering the number of Cove youth entering the criminal justice system.
5. Creating a program that can one day become a national model for other communities.