The Middletown area is expected to be home to a third of what are expected to be six Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning, the organization announced Thursday.
A site near Oberlin and Fulling Mill Roads in Lower Swatara Township will be transformed into an education center that will serve about 150 underprivileged children, free of charge, with about 80 staff, the school announced Thursday. The center should be operational in 2025.
Catherine Hershey Schools is a subsidiary of the Milton Hershey School, with the goal of using $350 million from Milton Hershey’s multi-billion dollar trust to continue early childhood education.
“This marks an important step in expanding our early childhood education initiative and honoring the Hersheys’ legacy by serving even more children in Pennsylvania,” said Pete Gurt, president of the Milton. Hershey School and the Catherine Hershey Schools, in a press release. .
The Catherine Hershey facilities will provide care and education for children from birth to age 5, as well as transportation, meals and support services for economically disadvantaged families served by schools. School admissions will likely be based on poverty levels, the organization previously told PennLive.
“Middletown is a prime location for our program and our holistic approach to early childhood education,” Catherine Hershey Schools Executive Director, Senator Alexander, said in a statement. “We look forward to serving children and families in this widely accessible location, bridging the kindergarten readiness gap between low-income and high-income children in surrounding urban and rural communities. »
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Middletown will be the third of six planned locations to begin work. A Catherine Hershey facility is currently under construction on the Milton Hershey School campus in Derry Township and is expected to open next year. A second location, in downtown Harrisburg, is scheduled to open in 2024.
The plans are the result of a court approval in 2020 allowing the Hershey Trust to expand its mission beyond the Milton Hershey School, a boarding school for at-risk youths that opened in 1909 under the magnate of the chocolate Milton Hershey and his wife, Catherine.
The move came amid criticism that the organization was not doing enough to spend its growing wealth charitablely. Between the school’s endowment — which includes a majority stake in chocolate company stock — and its other investments and real estate, the school trust now has $17.4 billion in assets, according to its latest statement. federal revenue.