"I can’t wait to get my GED. It’s the only thing missing from my life,” says Brenda, a student of Heartside Ministry’s GED program.
At the age of 14, Brenda dropped out of 8th grade when she became pregnant with her first child. She had to start working to pay the bills for her new young family. She worked as a nurse’s aide, caring for the elderly for twenty years before a work related injury put her on disability in 2004. “I miss my residents,” she says. “I miss feeling like I can help people every day.”
In 2004, her license expired, and in order to renew it, the state of Michigan requires a GED to become certified. In order to get back to work, Brenda needed to finish her high school education.
Brenda has tried several GED programs in the area, but became discouraged when she didn’t get the help she needed, or couldn’t afford the costs of the program while on disability.
In a last attempt at finding GED assistance, Brenda was referred by Community Connections to Heartside’s Bridging the Gap program. Now, at the age of 50, Brenda is working towards earning her GED. The program is offered at no cost to its participants, so the barriers to achieving a GED are lowered.
For Brenda, the difference at Heartside is the one-on-one instruction. When I asked our GED Coordinator, Jamie, about Brenda’s progress, she spoke with admiration. “Brenda shows up every day. She works hard and asks for help. She is proud of herself and never stops trying.”
Brenda recently adopted her 19 month old niece, which has also inspired her to earn her GED. She wants to be able to help with homework and to set an example of a hardworking woman as her niece grows up. Brenda wants to re-enter the workforce as a nurse’s aide again as soon as she can.
Brenda will feel confident and proud of herself. “I have all of my kids’ graduation tassels, I can’t wait to add mine to the collection,” she says with a smile.
Our GED funding need is greater than ever. Please consider giving what you can to support learners like Brenda to change their lives, families, and futures through the power of education.