First Literacy Grants support organizations that are developing innovative ways to help adult learners achieve the great expectations they have for their education. Funding from First Literacy gives these organizations an opportunity to test and deliver new and creative programs that directly impact adult learners and bring them one step closer to reaching their educational goals. This year First Literacy is proud to have funded five Adult Basic Education programs.
Changing the Lives of Young Adults
Providing adult learners with resources that allow them to achieve their great expectations is essential to First Literacy’s mission. Programs like the Charlestown Adult Education Youth Re-entry Program are especially important to improving the lives of young adult learners in Massachusetts.
This project is a comprehensive re-entry program for recently incarcerated and court-involved/at risk youth (ages 16 – 30) who need a HiSET/GED certification or to improve language proficiency. These individuals are in desperate need of educational opportunities and resources to help them adjust to life outside of prison, prepare for next steps, and reduce the chance of becoming part of the alarming 40% recidivism rate in Massachusetts. In addition to providing educational resources, this program offers participants support and encouragement – for some, the program staff and volunteers can be like the family they might not have.
The Youth Re-entry Program has impacted many young adults facing extreme hardship. One former student had little support growing up and was essentially raised on the streets. When he came to the Youth Re-entry Program he was really struggling. While he attended some high school, placement testing showed he had a fourth-grade education level. He went through difficult times, but the Youth Re-entry Program supported him, gave him the confidence to reach for his great expectations, and obtain his GED. He is currently enrolled in an HVAC program and is closer to reaching his dreams because of the program’s support.
The funds provided by First Literacy allowed the Youth Re-entry Program to hire a case manager to work with these at-risk young adults to help them get good jobs, achieve their educational goals, and put them on a path towards a better future. In the past year, the program impacted the lives of 25 young adults. This coming year, with a second year of funding from First Literacy, the program hopes to change even more lives by increasing the number of student interns, especially those at risk of dropping out of school.