For teen moms through life's storms, sometimes education can be the constant in their life and their hope for the future.
That is exactly what the Care Center of Holyoke aims to do within their community, working with over 100 women a year - some as young as 14.
"This was a really solid, smart, outspoken, highly energetic, really committed woman," said Anne Teschner, executive director of the Care Center.
It was Teschner's first impression of Sylvia Galvon. That has held true for the last two decades and as executive director, Teschner said Galvon stands out exceptionally as a volunteer.
"Because Sylvia has such an understanding and depth of experience, she's helped us maneuver a lot of high level projects," Teschner added.
That includes helping to start the first teen mom college in the country.
"I think what makes Sylvia different and so valuable for us is that she touches so many different aspects of the program," Teschner explained.
And for Galvon, she said that it's her own personal experience that bonds her with the girls and the program.
"My first son was born when I was 17, so it had a tremendous effect on my schooling, my education, my future. At the time, my mom was very supportive. When they're forced to drop out of high school or middle school even, the future is closed and they don't have the support that I had or that the Care Center opens the door for teen moms. Education is one of the issues that opens doors for everyone, especially teen moms," Galvon explained.
So, for the past 30 years, Galvon has dedicated her time to helping teen moms get the education they deserve.
"Began to realize that the success in their future lives, and the success for the children, and the success for the community at large worked and that is what motivated me to get involved. I'm an educator, I'm a retired education and that's what made me want to get involved," Galvon added.
From tutoring to simply offering the girls rides to class when needed, Galvon has immersed herself in every aspect of the Care Center - now sitting on the board of directors.
"The prep school has evolved to the point that first, Anne had a high percentage of students - 75, 80 percent - go to college. Now, it's become the first teen mom college in the country, so it's like yes! We are doing it! And then see the success of their children," Galvon noted.
For Galvon, it's a selfless act to better not only the women, but their children's future and the future of their whole community.
Galvon is an everyday woman, working tirelessly for the betterment of others.
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