Valley Works: Getting your GED

May 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno County's high poverty rate is often attributed to the fact many residents lack the education to land higher paying jobs.

Learn2Earn, an initiative started by Mayor Ashley Swearingin is working to help people complete their GED.

The adult schools and a number of career colleges are now offering GED programs. But what do you do if you don't have transportation to get there. A local church is stepping up to fill the gap in it's neighborhood.

El Dorado Park is a neighborhood in transition

Vickie Healy with Wesley United Methodist Church said, "Not long ago it was spoken of as being the highest concentration of poverty in the city of Fresno."

It is that area adjacent to Fresno State known as Sin City, an area long plagued with crime and joblessness. An area Wesley Methodist Church is committed to improving.

Healy said, "One of our first priorities as always been safety as far as providing a safe environment for children."

Basic needs for a community to thrive, a safe place, food and education.

Healy explained, "Almost everybody needs a GED or a high school diploma to even get on the first rung of a ladder at least for some kind of job stability."

So, when the church was approached by officials with Learn2Earn to start a GED study club they didn't hesitate.

Learn2Earn's goal is to help people get their GED, complete a degree and get a job. Having the church offer the courses was a way to bring education to the people. People like Nakhla Muthanna , 48, who has no transportation and must walk wherever she goes.

Hannah DeVous said, "That was the concept because Fresno Adult School and other programs are so far way that we wanted to give something really intricate into the community."

Completing her education is very important to Nakhla. Although she is still struggling with her English, she shows up here every Tuesday and Thursday, determined to get her GED, and get a job.

Church volunteer, Sabha Othman said, "Yea she is hoping that after getting her GED she can find real work."

This divorced mother of three has come a long way since leaving her home country of Yemen a place where education for girls is not valued. Nakhla left school at the age of ten, she is now an inspiration to women like 25-year-old Sabha Othman, who translates for her.

Othman said, "It doesn't matter what age you are what language you speak. You can still go and get your GED and get out there and work."

Learn2Earn officials are hoping that people in the community will take note of what Wesley Methodist is doing and start a GED Study club at their own church.


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