Northstar Learning Center


Our Values


Through a holistic approach to wellbeing that incorporates the mind, body and spirit


Through a culturally based, trauma-informed, and youth-centered lens that is participatory and community-driven


Through a community-led process that addresses existing social inequalities preventing youth from overcoming poverty and violence


Through transformative approaches that place young people as agents of social change in movements that dismantle injustice

The HEAL Center is...

The HEAL Center is an initiative of NorthStar Learning Centers that is supported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Gun Violence Prevention Intervention, Treatment and Recovery Services. The HEAL Center’s mission is to work with youth ages 17-24 who have had first-hand experience and exposure to gun violence, in promotion of their healing, overall health, and well-being.

We provide intensive, culturally responsive, trauma-informed prevention and intervention services including, wraparound care and mental/behavioral health support. The HEAL Center is strategically neighborhood-based and functions as a community mobilization and healing space. Our Sankofa Day Program is an engaging curriculum that aims to empower young adults to begin healing and recovering from community violence. The HEAL Center intends to guide New Bedford youth in exercising their own voice and power by embracing their strengths and leadership abilities. With a transformative approach, our participants’ challenges and struggles serve as steppingstones to creating a more resilient, caring, and just city.

The HEAL Center Provides...

A Day at the HEAL Center

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM Sankofa Day Program
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Youth Mentoring & Leadership Activities
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Community Engagement & Mobilization Meetings

Contact Us

If you are or know a young adult 17-24 who is out of school, refer them to the HEAL Center.


HEAL Center 95 Cedar Street New Bedford, MA 02740
Located at the Historic NAACP Building

Derek Baptiste, Sr.

Wraparound Care Facilitator
Cell: 508.264.7153

Luis Parrilla

Lead Wraparound Care Facilitator
Cell: 508.264.1561

Megan Ryan, LCSW

Lead Clinician
Cell: 508.971.1460

Jennifer E. DeBarros, PhD

Director of Prevention & Intervention Programs
Cell: 508.264.2735