The Decker Family Development Center is located in the small town of Barberton, Ohio, about 40 miles south of Cleveland. Housed in a large, old school, the Center has sunny classrooms, a playground, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, a toy-lending library, and a computer room. In the pre-employment training classroom, signs on the walls urge learners to "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" and remind them that "Today is a great day to learn something new."
The GED classroom is dotted with red geraniums, and flowered curtains frame the windows. Students who have passed their GED test earn the privilege of writing a memento on the classroom wall. One reads, "Thank you Decker for everything" and is signed by Crystal, of the graduating class of 2002. Her appreciation is echoed by other Decker clients. One sixteen-year-old mother of two said, "I've benefited a lot. I'm doing really good with computers and trying to go for my GED. Slowly but surely, I'll be there in time. I'm good at geometry, but I can't read. When I do geometry, it raises up my self-esteem." Another learner explained, "When I first came here, I could just do basic math, and now I can do algebra. I take the GED next month, and then I can go and get a real job."