By Johnny Jackson
The nonprofit group, Hearts to Nourish Hope, will offer some of the area's high school dropouts an opportunity to take advantage of General Educational Development (GED) courses this fall, according to Deborah Anglin, executive director of the group.
Anglin said the Riverdale-based organization will partner with New Harvest Temple in McDonough, and its Youth Leadership League initiative, to provide the GED courses to the area's younger high school dropouts, ages 16 to 21.
"Our focus is the high-risk youth that have dropped out of high school," Anglin said. "Our short-term goal is to help them get their GED. Our long-term goal is to have them continue their education so that they can be successful. It's preparing them to be a successful, contributing member of society."
Hearts to Nourish Hope has served Henry County residents for the past three years, according to Anglin.
She said the organization has expanded its services throughout the Southern Crescent since its inception 14 years ago.
"We've probably worked with more than 12,000 students in our various community programs over the past 14-and-a-half years," Anglin said.
This is the second year the nonprofit has partnered with New Harvest Temple.
Anglin said the partnership has garnered the support of the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department which, for the first time, will offer facilities for the weekly classes at the Jason T. Harper Event Center in McDonough.
Vickie Ponder, senior pastor at New Harvest Temple, is scheduled to teach the GED classes each Tuesday, beginning Oct. 6.
Each class meeting will be held from 9 a.m., until 12 p.m., she said, and will last the duration of the 2009-10 school year. Registration for the GED classes will be held at the event center, located at 101 Lake Dow Road in McDonough, on Sept. 28, from 9 a.m., until 12 p.m.
Ponder said those wanting to register must be pre-tested at the event center, which will only offer pre-tests from 9 a.m., to 12 p.m., on Sept. 14 or Sept. 21.
"Those who register must have taken the GED classes pre-test," she said. "They'll have to have those results to register on the 28th."
Ponder said space will likely be limited to about 25 students, depending on demand.
"A lot of these people weren't bad people, it was just their circumstances that led them to drop out of high school," Ponder said. "They quit, not because they wanted to, but because they had to.
"I said for so long, 'I want to start a GED program,'" she said. "Some of them feel defeated and like they can't do it, but they can. If they know that there's a part in the puzzle that they can put in place, I think they will. But they won't unless they have someone to push them."
"This is a great example of how, when the community comes together, how great things can happen," Anglin added. "It will strengthen the program and make the program better as we find new ways to work together."
To learn more about the GED class initiative, call Hearts to Nourish Hope at (770) 997-4517.
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