Cherry Street, Penta open adult education center at MacomberWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | email@example.com
Faced with the staggering statistic that 60,000 Lucas County residents over the age of 25 do not have a high school diploma or equivalent, Cherry Street Mission Ministries and Penta Career Center have teamed up to help lower that number.
Headquartered on 17th Street in Downtown Toledo, Cherry Street Mission Ministries purchased the former Macomber High School on Monroe Street in 2013 and has spent the last year readying it to become its new Life Revitalization Center. Now through its new collaboration with Penta Career Center, it will offer GED/ABLE (Advocates for Basic Legal Equality) services at this location.
Classes already began Dec. 1 with 15-20 people in attendance. A ribbon-cutting is planned for today.
“We know how to transform and stabilize lives, and we know how to stay with them and bring them to the fullness of healing,” said Rev. Dan Rogers, president and CEO of Cherry Street Mission Ministries, who called the new partnership “a top five economic development story for our region.” “Conversely, we don’t have any idea how to vocationally train, so the partnership of holistically reaching someone under the same roof is key. Every time you move somebody or ask them to move that creates a barrier. One roof systems are just key.”
Also in the works is the potential expansion of Toledo Public Schools’ adult education programs, the first step in a series of movies which Cherry Street hopes will eventually become a full-blown residential vocational and career center.
There has also been talk from Toledo Public Schools of a reborn Macomber concept nearby that would bring vocational training back to high school students.
Penta Superintendent Ron Matter believes that with this new affiliation, further adult training coming soon, and a possible new Macomber High School, this particular area is primed for good things.
“What a corridor that could be to have adult options, and to get this up and running with the other programs,” Matter said. “This really could be quite a hub.”
Rogers said that the former DeVilbiss High School currently offers adult training, and Cherry Street is in very early discussions with Toledo Public Schools about those programs potentially moving to the new Macomber site, in an effort to consolidate efforts all under one roof.
Both Cherry Street and Penta expect their efforts will increase access to those who are experiencing homelessness and are in poverty.
“It’s amazing how things come together with just a conversation,” Matter said. “We struck up a conversation with Dan (Rogers), he explained how he wanted to revitalize Macomber High School, and it all fell into place.”
Matter said Cherry Street clients remain their initial priority, and soon they want to open it up to all Toledo residents.
“It’s something that’s very exciting and going to be a big piece of the City of Toledo,” Matter said. “Partnering with Cherry Street to help others life themselves up, that’s good stuff to be involved with.”
Cherry Street has steadily been making behind-the-scenes renovations as funds became available. The building has a new parking lot, roof and heating system. Cherry Street has also been working in sections of the building, such as the auto shop, to repair their own fleet and practice how things might look if vocational services were to return to the 76-year-old structure that closed its doors to high school students in 1991.
The University of Toledo donated classroom furniture to aid the cause.
“We’re looking for other partners to get on board with us to get these services on the old Macomber site,” Matter said. “It has such a rich tradition at Macomber. It just makes too much sense.”
Founded in 1947, Cherry Street Mission Ministries is best known for providing food, clothing and shelter to the poor and homeless of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. On average it serves 900 meals a day and provides shelter and programming to more than 250 every night. Cherry Street is privately funded and does not receive government funding.
Penta Career Center is a vocational public high school and adult education center in northern Wood County serving 16 school districts Fulton, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood counties.