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Marie and Cynthia Jetter College and Career Center to Open in Chester

The Chester Education Foundation (CEF) announced the creation of the Marie and Cynthia Jetter College and Career Center, which is expected to begin serving the Chester community this spring.

The Jetter Center is a revival of the College Access Center of Delaware County, which was co-directed by Swarthmore and served the Chester community for almost 10 years. And it’s a testament to the passion Cynthia Jetter ’74 and her late mother, Marie, shared for expanding educational opportunities for young people in need.

“Although my mother didn’t have the opportunity to expand her own education, she was such a strong advocate for it,” says Jetter, who drove the creation of the College Access Center as director of community partnerships and planning with the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility. “However and whenever she could, she tried to help and support educational programs, particularly for young people.

“I know I would not have taken the leaps and bounds I did to get a better education if not for her,” Jetter adds, “and I know how much she gave up to afford me that opportunity.”

The Jetter Center will extend college and career services from the renovated offices of the CEF and through partnerships with schools and community organizations throughout Chester. “It’s a really nice program that helps students who don’t have any other resources in or outside of school,” says Ashley Henry, project director for youth empowerment at the Lang Center. “It’s meeting the students’ desire and meeting an important need in the community.”

The CEF is a natural fit to continue and expand the work of the College Access Center, based on its 30-year history of providing educational support services and forging community partnerships. When the College Access Center closed last June, Swarthmore committed to ensuring continuous service to, and partnership with, Chester youth.

“From the moment we heard that the College Access Center might be closing, colleagues such as Dion Lewis [director of the Black Cultural Center], Greg Brown [vice president for finance and administration], and I spent months strategizing with [President] Val Smith about how we might maintain programming with our Chester partners,” says Ben Berger, executive director of the Lang Center and associate professor of political science. “It wasn’t a question of whether, but of how.”

Any support of  the young people of Chester in pursuit of higher education is welcome and needed, adds Jetter. “It’s critical for there to be a place where people can access information,” she says, “that allows them access to greater opportunities.”