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 September 2016, the Cove hired its first Executive Director, Teri Holtkamp, and in October began serving its first cohort of students. We are so excited about the ways in which the Cove is making an impact in the lives of these students and in our Waco community as a whole.
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, 1-8 p.m.*
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 workplace.
2. Creating an environment that supports the dreams and ambitions of Cove youth.
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.