Grand Rapids Community Foundation grant allows Heartside Ministries to expand GED program
Caroline MacGregor February 27, 2013 | WGVU Heartside Ministries started out as a small outreach
program for the homeless and disenfranchised people of the street. Located on
Division Avenue, today, the center holds a chapel, adult literacy and GED
classes, computer center, and a pottery studio.
Thanks to a grant from the Grand Rapids Community
Foundation, the ministry is now able to expand its current GED program further
empowering Heartside neighbors through education and employment.
Until now, the GED program has been able to meets
only two afternoons a week for two and a half hours. The grant allows the
program to now engage 10-15 students a day with one-on-one tutoring and
prepping for the GED exam. Teams of 4 to 6 educators aged 50+ educators meet
daily with students in a freshly painted yellow classroom complete with desks
and learning supplies.
In the past, volunteer educators used whatever
space is available on a given day with material from a rolling cart.
The tutors provide one-on-one help to the
students as they prepare for exams. There is no cost for participants;
the GED consists of five exams at a cost of $25 each and is paid by Heartside
after students have passed a pre-test.
Lynn Rykse is one of the volunteer teachers. She knows what it’s like to
be homeless, was at one time incarcerated and still suffers the affects of
domestic abuse. She’s been able to transform her life with the help of
Heartside Ministries and is now paying it forward.
“Most of my students are very diligent in their work, they're hard workers, we've got a triangle on the wall - they're moving up on the GED all star wall of fame and it gives them positive affirmation which they didn't have in their homes, I try to mentor them.”
of Jamie’s students, Kamau Akello Amani is clearly happy with his progress in
“She is a very excellent teacher and I like her. She has helped me develop a love for math. I love math, especially algebra and equations, oh man, I love it, I love algebra and equations, I love it. I've been thinking of delving more into math, kind of like going toward being a mathematician.”
grand opening of the Heartside Minstries enhanced GED program and classroom was
attended by members of the public, staff and neighbors, and Grand Rapids
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