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1 Peter 4:10 calls us: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
"I am going to get my GED for my daughter's sake; I can't tell her to do something I didn't do."
Melissa speaks with confidence when she tells others about her mission for self-improvement. That mission has led her to participate in the free GED preparation classes provided at The Salvation Army Tri-Cities Service Center.
"I want to be an inspiration to those around me who struggle."
Melissa dropped out of high school in the 11th grade to work fulltime. The salary she earned over the years never was enough to thrive. As her daughter grew, Melissa became determined to better herself.
"I didn't want a handout; I wanted to develop useful skills."
An entrepreneur at heart, Melissa runs a small daycare from her home and is encouraging her teenage daughter to study and do well in high school.
"I felt stuck without my GED, and I don't like things to hold me back."
Melissa knows that in order to make her daycare business succeed she will need her GED.
"My daughter tells me she's proud of me, and I want to be proud of myself too."
The Salvation Army Tri-Cities Service Center Community Education Program (CEC) has helped Melissa on her quest for self-improvement and she is emblematic of the kind of people who enroll in classes and commit to this initiative.
The Tri-Cities area was hit especially hard by the recession. Unemployment has since recovered to just above 11%, still much higher than the Virginia state average of 6%. To ameliorate the situation, The Salvation Army has implemented this program to give citizens of our community full access to continuing education.
In Petersburg, 30% of the population does not have their high school degree, twice the state average of 15%. Education opens the door to opportunity. On average, individuals who have their GED's will make $7,000 more per year than those without a diploma.
As Melissa said, "I didn't want a handout; I wanted to gain useful skills."
Equipping our neighbors with useful skills is at the core of our mission. The program offers classes in GED preparation, computer training, and basic reading literacy.
Community Education Director Ken Samuel explains, "We strive to provide the underserved population with high-quality educational possibilities; once they learn the basics here they gain the knowledge and confidence necessary to get a job or continue learning in a college environment."
We are truly excited about the impact our Community Education Programs will have on the Tri-Cities area and we are hopeful you will partner with us in this effort.
Melissa's story highlights how your generosity will be a testament to the Christian spirit as it will have a lasting, meaningful impact upon the lives of men, women and their families in the Tri-Cities region.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and may God continue to abundantly bless you!
If you would like to contribute, you can do so online here, or by calling (804) 591-3816.