In 1980 Sister Paulita Walters opened the doors to the Readiness Center with a $2,000 grant. Her vision is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where pre-school children could learn the tools necessary to help them succeed in school. Structured parent/child time leads to the parent taking an active role in their child's learning through their school years. The center has never strayed from its core purpose of providing early childhood education and family nurturing.

For over thirty years, the Readiness Center has served the Benton Harbor community and increased its programming to fulfill the changing needs of the children and their parents. The Readiness Center has grown to include an after-school component for first through fifth graders called CityKids and the 50/50 Teen work/mentor program. The longevity of the programs and the success of the students is a tribute to the effectiveness of the Readiness Center and the role of their parents.


Nearly 1,400 children's lives have been touched since the center opened its doors in 1980. Success can mean many different things, from improved reading and comprehension skills, to improved test scores, to happier, healthier families. We are happy to report that 97% of the children we are able to track graduated from high school and many of them have pursued higher education leading to careers as teachers, nurses, and business professionals. Proud parents and children have reported over 50 post-secondary degrees.

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