Another success story from the Heal Center

After some encouragement from the Heal Center staff, this young man invested in himself. As a result, he now has a High School Equivalency Diploma from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Education.

This is a great example of when given the opportunity and support, doors can be opened for our New Bedford Youth.





NorthStar Learning Centers Inc.  Annual Report 2022





Some see New Bedford’s disadvantaged youth as trouble. This group sees much more. 

By Matthew Ferreira, Standard-Times, 2023-05-24

Doing the tough work to make a real impact on young lives

New Bedford Shannon, with its current enrollment of 202, focuses on city youth aged 10-24, who are often referred to the program by sources like city schools, police, Department of Children and Families or other agencies. It’s difficult to sum up the whole of what its staff do on the day to day, as each day is different — something that can be especially true in the often chaotic lives of the youth they see — but much of the work can be likened to acting as a caring family member would.

NEW BEDFORD — Some throw up gang signs. Some commit crimes and get arrested. Some have a habit of skipping school, or have stopped going altogether. But if there’s one thing Renee Ledbetter, program director for New Bedford Shannon, says she’s learned in her years of working with some of the city’s most disenfranchised youth, it’s that underneath their hard exteriors are hearts of gold that just need some extra love — often, tough love.

“They are the unseen; they are the ones that are pushed to the side because they might not be acting the way we expect them to,” said Leadbetter, who, aside from her day job, became New Bedford NAACP president in October. “But these kids will give you the shirt off their back.”


Reaching for the Stars

NorthStar is building a state-of-the-art Early Education & Community Center in the south end of New Bedford

After 6 years of planning and fundraising, NorthStar is getting ready to break ground on its biggest and most impactful project in 50 years.


This new school will service a total of 135 children at or below the poverty level in the community. What is currently a vacant lot, will soon be a beacon of hope. The residence of New Bedford will also benefit from its community play spaces, and the commercial kitchen. Thank you to all of the foundations and donors who helped make this dream a reality. This 12-month construction project is projected to break ground by September 2023. If you would like to be a part of this miracle, it is not too late. We still have a funding gap in order to open the doors debt free. Please contact our Director of Development, David:, or click  CONTRIBUTE to fill out a contribution form.



New Bedford youth beating the heat while expanding their creative minds through art.

   Summer Nights / Art Class / 7/11/23

“Tonight, for art class at Summer Nights, the participants enjoyed making picture frames made out of cardboard, clear white tape, fake flowers, with real grass and leaves.  Some kids got really creative and took real bark off the tree from outside and used it for the bark part of their tree in their picture frame.”  (Shawnte Paris, Community Engagement Mobilization Coordinator).

Summer Nights is a grant through the Department of Conservation and Recreation in connection with the Govenor’s Initiative that runs for six weeks in the summer.  It is a FREE program for the youth ages 10-16 that runs from July 5, 2023 – August 17, 2023.  The youth participate in different activities such as art, boxing with a professional boxer, and multimedia cultural art.  They develop new friendships and lots of fun along the way.

At our HEAL Center (NAACP building: New Bedford, MA)