May 2019
Swirenews
menu
It takes a Village...
PreviousNext

Children at the pre-school and day-care centre in the town of California, Pennsylvania.
Children at the pre-school and day-care centre in the town of California, Pennsylvania.


Clark Harrison is Director Business Development, Power Generation, for Purestream Services, a US-based Swire subsidiary that provides water treatment solutions to a range of industrial users, including the oil and gas and power generation sectors.

At least, that's Clark's day job. But when not working for Purestream, he is Chairman of the Board of The Village – a nationally accredited pre-school and day-care centre in the town of California, Pennsylvania, which he founded in 2006 to help single parents of young children break the cycle of poverty through education.

Clark has always believed that education is the best antidote to poverty. Thirteen years ago, he became aware that many young people in this economically-challenged region were dropping out of school or college because they were single parents and didn't have the money, resources, or a support system to provide day-care for their young children while they completed their studies.

Clark saw a need and decided to do something about it. He felt that if young people had a safe, nurturing place to take their children, they would be able to attend college, trade school or nursing school, and in the long-term improve their opportunities for employment. At the same time, the young children in the programme could receive good pre-schooling, creating a foundation for their own future education and opportunities.

The first Village pre-school class was held in donated space at a local church. Clark recalls: "I knew a lady who was retiring from her career as an elementary school teacher and another lady who was about to become an empty-nester, because her third daughter was in high school. I recruited them as the nucleus to start: the mother of three to be President because she had an MBA, and the teacher to be the Director, because she had the necessary credentials. They both worked for a year without pay". Clark went to a friend who is a senior partner at a major tax law firm and recruited him to do the legal work pro bono. He also recruited four people from the local business community to serve on the Board with him. "We had a very successful fundraiser, got some grants and launched on a wing and a prayer".

Last year, Clark helped to secure a US$1 million grant that enabled the programme to expand to a second campus at a local university. Today, The Village programme cares for around 60 children, ranging in age from infancy to five years old. And by offering free pre-schooling to children of single parents who are enrolled full-time in an educational programme, the initiative aims to give single-parent families a hand up, not a hand out.
Scott Cup 2019
Scott Cup 2019
It takes a Village...
It takes a Village...
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
CNCo's first female cadets from PNG
CNCo's first female cadets from PNG
Appointments
Promotions, Transfers & Title Changes
Long Service
Retirements
Marriages
Births
Swire News May 2019 nissue
Download this issue in PDF
Top