Carver's History and Namesake
Carver was founded in 1938 as a neighborhood community center, named after the great scientist, educator and inventor, George Washington Carver, and named the 2013-2014 “Nonprofit of the Year” by the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce.
Carver today is the largest provider of after-school programs for middle and high school students in Norwalk. Carver’s after-school Youth Development Program, so named in 1970, began its expansion into Norwalk Public Schools in 2008, and is now conducted in the Carver Community Center, Norwalk’s four middle and two high schools, and in Side By Side Charter School. Carver helps our partnering schools raise overall student performance. Carver’s collaborative model promotes student success, maximizes financial, human and other resources, and builds public will.
Carver also offers college scholarship funds and multiple summer programs, winning basketball teams, international learning opportunities, a parent leadership academy, health and wellness programming, spring and fall college tours, food drives, community holiday events and more for the benefit of the Norwalk community.
Carver is a member of Norwalk ACTS, a support network of many community leaders and organizations that proactively identifies and resolves issues that impede or prevent a child’s ability to grow up healthy, safe, smart and successful at home, at school and in the community. Norwalk ACTS is working with the Strive Together "Cradle to Career" Network to bring the “Collective Impact” framework to Norwalk.
Bringing the College Board to Norwalk Public Schools
Until the 2015-2016 school year, Carver raised the financial support necessary to bring the College Board and its PSAT exam into the schools so that all students could have access to and benefit free of charge from this important college-prep tool with the support of their teachers and school administrators during the school day. Until this Carver initiative began in the 2010 academic year, too few students availed themselves of this important experience privately on weekends for a fee.
The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program that is cosponsored by both the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The test provides firsthand practice for the SAT and lets teachers know where their students are strong and need help. It also gives students a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.
Praise for Carver
State Sen. Bob Duff, D-25
" 'The Carver Center is one of the best non-profits in the city of Norwalk, if not Fairfield County and maybe even the state of Connecticut,' Duff said." The Hour
Craig M. Creller, K-12 Math Instructional Specialist, Norwalk Public Schools:
"Carver has been a stalwart partner in supporting Norwalk’s children before & after school, during the school year and throughout the summer. Together, we have also made significant academic gains that have prevented ‘summer slide’ and are now actually closing the achievement gap.The bottom line is that Carver programs WORK!" (See entire July 15, 2015 letter of recommendation here)
Joseph Velucci, principal, Roton Middle School:
“This is the only after school program these kids have. We have the data that shows us this program is having a positive impact on the kids’ performance. Look at the suspension data – the rate is down. Academics are up. They’re here learning, they’re more involved … The bottom line is that we have to find a way to improve performance. This program simply helps kids do better.”
Deborah Bell-Johnson, assistant principal, Nathan Hale Middle School:
“We have almost 100 kids on a waiting list for this program. These are the make or break it years for school. The parents know. And we know too! The Carver program has the ability to raise the entire school.”
Dan Sullivan, guidance counselor, Norwalk High School:
“The results are definitely positive and we know the data. One girl who had 40 absences in the previous year, gained a mentor through Carver and now has a 3.4 GPA and only three absences. It’s been a very positive partnership.”
Craig Creller, math coordinator, Norwalk schools:
“Carver is our dominant community partner. They are a great partner. They are getting results. The district’s budget is what, $159 million? Carver’s is a couple of million. Their return on investment is looking pretty good.”
Dr. Lynne Moore, principal, West Rocks Middle School:
“Without Carver, these children would have no place to go to get that support. They’re the only after school program there is. It should be expanded, because the results are clear.”