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Community Healthlink Expands School-based Program to Help At-Risk Students at Worcester East Middle School


As the pandemic wreaks havoc with adolescent mental health, the CHL C.A.R.E.S. Club helps students with school attendance, their studies, and their relationships.


Worcester, MA (May 18, 2022) – UMass Memorial Health – Community Healthlink has expanded its school-based program CHL C.A.R.E.S. Club to Worcester East Middle School. CHL case managers will work with up to 30 students referred to the in-school program by either teachers or parents of Worcester East students. Using a variety of approaches, including one-on-one mentoring, individual counseling, peer groups, family events, and academic help, they will help students improve class attendance, their grades, and their relationships with family and friends.

“The pandemic has been catastrophic on adolescent mental health,” said CHL Children’s Services Vice President Lori Simkowitz-Lavigne. “Our C.A.R.E.S. Club – C.A.R.E.S. stands for “Create. Achieve. Respect. Elevate. Succeed. – meets teens where they’re at. We’re in the school with them. We work with the students, their teachers, and their families to help them grow in ways they could not otherwise. We’re so excited to bring this program to Worcester East Middle School. I know it’ll be a game-changer for them.”

“This partnership will have a profound impact on the academic, social/emotional, and behavioral development of our students,” said Worcester East Middle School Principal Dr. Kareem Tatum. “Just as important, the communication and collaboration that will exist between our school, our families, and CHL has the potential to strengthen the relationships that exist in our school community. We are extremely excited to be afforded the opportunity to partner with the CHL C.A.R.E.S. club.”

The program has a history of success in other schools throughout central Massachusetts, including Knox Trail Middle School in Spencer, and Sky View Middle School in Leominster. 

“The program changed my son’s life,” said Sarah Taylor, parent of an eighth-grade student at Knox Trail Middle School. “The help isn’t just for the student. They help the entire family, too. The support we received is beyond words.”

The CHL C.A.R.E.S Club program is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services. CHL plans to expand the program to other interested schools as more funding becomes available.

About Community Healthlink
Community Healthlink promotes, restores, and maintains the physical health, mental health and wellbeing of more than 22,000 adults, children, and families in central Massachusetts annually. Community Healthlink is part of the UMass Memorial Health System.

UMass Memorial Health
UMass Memorial Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 15,500 employees and 2,100 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group and Harrington Physician Services. We are the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Our comprehensive system includes UMass Memorial Medical Center, UMass Memorial Health – Harrington, UMass Memorial Health – HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, UMass Memorial Health – Marlborough Hospital, and UMass Memorial Health – Community Healthlink. Visit