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MLC Programs

 School-Age Childcare

The guiding principles of the School-Age Child Care Program are to enhance the educational, emotional, and social development of children.  Young people ages 5-13 enroll in a structured program designed to expand their interests and horizons, and to develop positive attitudes toward others.  The Child Care Program is open weekdays during the school year from 2:30 to 5:30 pm for ages 5 to 13 and ages 5 to 16 for children with special needs.  On early release Wednesdays, the program runs from 12:00 to 5:30 pm, and during vacations it operates from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.  

  • Planned learning experiences are organized around activities that include reading, math, crafts, group games, team sports, cooking, and other club activities. 

  • Age-appropriate programming for up to 40 children who are divided into two to three groups of younger, middle, and older youth. 
  • Trained staff members co-teach those with different abilities. 

  • Staff members are fluent in Spanish, Haitian Creole, French, and Somalian.
  • Enrollment is on a first come, first served basis.  Eligibility is based on age, residence, family income, and service need. 

  • Vouchers and private paying consumers accepted. The current rate for school-age child care is $22.15 per day.  Contracted slots and vouchers are subject to a sliding fee scale.

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 MLC Summer Camp

The MLC Summer Camp gives 40 low-income children from the Mystic Public Housing Development and nearby neighborhoods the opportunity to participate in enriching and fun activities during the summer months.  Since 1972, the camp serves children of diverse ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds with an exciting program of field trips, beach days, sports, arts and crafts, summer reading, morning exercise, and many other activities. 

  •  The camp operates Monday thru Friday from 8 am to 5:30 pm from June to September.    The program welcomes children of all abilities, and those with special needs are given individual attention by trained staff.  Breakfast, lunch, and snack are served.  Parent drop off and pick up is required.

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 Summer Basketball Program

The Mystic Learning Center offers a free, six-week summer basketball program for youth between the ages of 8-18.  The program takes place at the Mystic Housing Development every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6:00-8:00 pm.  Every player receives a team t-shirt and award at the end of the program.  Training in basketball coaching is also provided. 

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 Empowering Competent Youth Program

Job training and employment of low-income teens is the focus of the Empowering Competent Youth Program (ECYP).  Since 1998 ECYP has offered work experience, educational support activities, and leadership development for twelve to sixteen in-school youth per year who are hired and trained as Peer Leaders in the school-age childcare, after school, and summer programs.  The goal is to build youth competencies and assets through academic remediation, work experience, and leadership development.  Highlights of the program are the following:

  • Youth are connected with other educational support services as needed to ensure they progress a minimum of one grade level, achieve a grade level appropriate for their situation, and graduate from high school. 
  • Youth spend a minimum of 3 hours per week in educational support activities that include reading comprehension, writing, math computation, speaking, listening, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.  Individual assistance is provided by staff on homework assignments, summer readings, school projects, and computer skills.  During the school year, senior staff members review grades, contact schools, offer support, and discuss plans for students’ improvement.

  • As Peer Leaders, youth gain valuable on-the-job experience in a variety of fields including:  early care and education, human services, child development, special education, teaching, information technology, youth work, health care and mental health services.  ECYP allows youth to explore different career options and to discover what training, education, and experience is necessary to be successful in these fields. 

  • An important aspect of ECYP is the collaboration with The Career Place on job development activities.  Counselors conduct workshops on resume writing, interview preparation, and using the Massachusetts Career Information System to research potential jobs.  Tailored services include sessions on job search “know how”, employer expectations, assertiveness and conflict management, teamwork, and occupational interests.  Peer Leaders also participate in job fairs and tours of area colleges and businesses to gain exposure to college environments and the workplace.

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 After School Programs

More than 80 young people each year participate in the following school-year programs:

  • Real Kids Real Food is sponsored by Optimum Health Solution, a nonprofit organization with a mission of preventing obesity, chronic diseases and malnutrition in children and adolescents through education. Students enrolled in this after school program learn healthy eating habits by engaging in fun, interactive projects related to growing food, preparing food, and making healthy choices. Children enjoy deliciously nutritious food in each class. 

  • Pre-Teen Choice Club and the Teen Choice Club are held Monday thru Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm.  Teen Choice Club members attend movies, sporting events, game nights, and a variety of teen-initiated activities on Friday Fun Nights.

  • Books of Hope is an innovative writing and teen empowerment initiative created in partnership with the Somerville Arts Council that takes place on Monday evenings.  The program gives young people the opportunity to become published authors.  Readings at bookstores, libraries, and other venues allow young people to showcase their artistic achievements.  For more information visit

  • Wednesday Educational Night features guest speakers who make presentations and offer training on issues of concern to youth.  Workshops are conducted on alcohol and substance abuse prevention, teen health issues, motivation/goal setting, teambuilding, conflict resolution, and preparing for college and the workplace.  Youth work independently on computer skills, school projects, homework and Internet-based research. 

  • Mystic Youth Chorus gives ten to fifteen young people, ages 5-15 the chance to practice group singing and to perform at MLC events. 

  • Mystic Kids Garden - In collaboration with The Welcome Project, young people in the MLC after school program learn to cultivate and maintain their own plot in the Mystic Community Garden.

  • Girls Only strives to counter unhealthy lifestyles by helping twelve to sixteen girls, ages 11-16, to develop positive self-images, to increase self-confidence, and to prevent risky behavior.  The group meets on 3 Saturdays each month for 4-6 hours.  Using the Life Skills Curriculum, an experienced educator facilitates discussions, and helps to coordinate activities. 

  • Man Club was launched in October 2009 based on the success of Girls Only.  Every other Monday night from 6 pm-8 pm, sixteen young men participate in team building activities, field trips and discussions from the Life Skills Curriculum.     

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 Launch GED!

Targeting youth ages 14 to 21 for GED preparation and workforce development is the focus of Launch GED!  The program was established in collaboration with Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE), The Career Place, and the Somerville Housing Authority to provide out-of-school youth with education, employment and supportive services.  Up to fifteen students attend classes 4-5 days each week and receive a combination of directed independent study, individual coaching, large group teacher-led instruction, and interactive on-line learning.  Students focus on five subject areas, and work at their own pace in preparation for the GED exam. The resources of The Career Place are utilized for individualized job readiness and career development.

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 Food and Nutrition Education

Funded by the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program, MLC provides a healthy snack each day during the school year, two meals and a snack during the summer, and an evening meal for children who attend events after regular hours.  Nutrition and education in healthy lifestyles is provided using a curriculum developed by Shape Up Somerville.

Optimum Health Solution, a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to help prevent obesity, chronic diseases and malnutrition in children and adolescents by teaching healthy eating habits, offers Real Kids Real Food as part of the MLC After School Program. Its curriculum combines physical exercise and nutrition presented in a fun, engaging hands-on format. The children enjoy making and eating healthy foods in class and are encouraged to have their families try out the recipes at home. 

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 TASTE, Tufts After-school Tutoring and Enrichment

Taste sends twenty to twenty-five Tufts students to MLC each week to tutor and be buddies for students in the after school program.  The program is coordinated by a scholar from the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

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 MLC Mentoring Initiative

This program pairs junior and senior staff with children to whom they serve as role models and offer individual guidance and advice. Teens provide one-on-one assistance with homework and special attention is given to younger children.

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Mystic Learning Center • Suite 103 • 530 Mystic Avenue, Somerville, MA 02145
(617) 623-0110 • Fax: (617) 623-4750


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