Center for Transforming Lives
For more than 100 years, the Center for Transforming Lives (formerly the YWCA Fort Worth & Tarrant County) has worked to help women, children, and their families transition from poverty to independence by facilitating three critical factors for success:
- Housing stability,
- High-quality affordable childcare, and
- Financial self-sufficiency.
The Miles Foundation has proudly partnered with the CTL to support its Child Development Program. On any given day, this program serves approximately 300 children between the ages of six weeks and five years through three development centers in Fort Worth and Arlington. The centers provide high-quality childcare, free of cost to homeless families and at a reduced cost for low-income families. The program enables parents to go to work with peace of mind, while helping to prepare their children for success in kindergarten and beyond.
The CTL is the only licensed full-day provider of free care for homeless children of this age group in Tarrant County. Children who are homeless can fall 18 months behind their peers. The goal of the CTL’s child development centers is to provide a safe, learning-rich environment that enables these children to thrive. Breakfast, snacks, and lunch are provided amidst creative instruction and individualized attention from dedicated educators.
The CTL’s Child Development Program hinges on the philosophy that every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, regardless of social or economic status. To that end, the CTL’s child development centers utilize The Creative Curriculum® approach, which focuses on literacy and school readiness. It targets five components of teaching preschool children effectively:
- How children develop and learn
- The learning environment
- What children learn
- Caring and teaching
- Partnering with families
The success of CTL’s Child Development Program is proven through consistently positive results. In a recent report, 95% of the program’s four-year-olds demonstrated the skills they needed to succeed in kindergarten. But the impact of the program is best illustrated through the stories of those it has helped, such as Johnny.
Johnny was just 18 months old when he and his mother came to the CTL. They had been living at a local night shelter, and the stress of that situation had taken its toll. Afraid to put him down and without anywhere safe for him to play, Johnny’s mother had held him almost exclusively during their time at the shelter. This had thwarted Johnny’s development – by the time he arrived at the CTL, he did not engage, smile, laugh, or talk with the other children, and he had difficulty walking.
The team members at the CTL immediately enacted a plan for Johnny’s development, which included physical therapy and intensive one-on-one treatment. Within just six months, Johnny made dramatic, measurable leaps in his development, and a year later, when Johnny and his mother attended the CTL’s annual Christmas party, several CTL staff members were filled with joy as they watched Johnny run – not walk – into Santa’s arms.
Johnny’s story is representative of CTL’s powerful dual-generation model: Johnny was given a safe place to grow socially and developmentally, while his mother was provided the opportunity to change her family’s circumstances. With a job and a safe place to live, Johnny’s mother redefined the future for her son and for herself.