Helping Neighbors Get Their GED or Diploma
April 14, 2021
Just a few months ago, Streams of Hope became a satellite campus for the Sparta Adult Education Program. This innovative organization provides free assistance to adults who would like to earn their GED or high school diploma. Their team is passionate about seeing our neighbors grow and thrive, and we are so excited to be one of their partners!
What does the program look like?
The whole program is self-paced, meaning that students can enter or exit at any time. While many participants are tuning in virtually right now, there are in-person hours at the Streams of Hope campus to help guide learners through classwork. They provide individual tutoring on an as-needed basis. The majority of our students at Streams of Hope are pursuing their high school diploma utilizing an online platform. Most work online independently, taking advantage of the flexibility this program offers. They can “attend” class 24/7.
Currently our campus has about 40 participants, but throughout Kent County there are hundreds of students enrolled at many different locations. Most of our participants are from the nearby surrounding community, and a little more than half are pursuing their diploma. The Sparta program provides assistance to learners who speak English as a second language (ESL) and also has some workforce development and career coaching opportunities. They even offer internships and vocational training through partnerships with other organizations at no cost to eligible students. Students seeking their diploma can also earn elective credit for completing modules in career planning.
Why is getting a GED or high school diploma important?
Individuals with a high school credential earn on average $6,000 more per year than those without! They also have a lower risk of being unemployed. Getting a secondary credential opens up the door to college or job training at any point in an individual’s future. Graduates can also consider military enlistment. Beyond that, a secondary credential means more financial security and opportunities for promotions within jobs, even if they do not require a credential for entrance.
What barriers do adult learners face?
There are a few common barriers faced by adult learners, and the Sparta program helps minimize them all:
Most commonly, we see students that do not have the means to attend class. To assist, we can provide gas cards and bus passes to cover the cost of getting to and from class, and offer online enrollment and course offerings.
While balancing work schedules and childcare needs, our students have limited flexibility. We have the ability to provide all instructional materials remotely and that are available 24/7 online.
The lack of technology (no internet, computer, or tablet) at home is a barrier for numerous students. Sparta Adult Education tries to connect students with the technological resources they need.
Many students just have a generalized “school anxiety” that stems from previous negative school experiences. The Sparta team works with all students individually, rather than having scheduled classes, and has a staff that is outstanding at making sure every student feels valued and capable of attaining their goals.
How can I donate or volunteer?
The Sparta Adult Education program is entirely funded by state and federal grants. While this funding allows them the ability to pay for all instructional needs for students, as well as support services such as transportation assistance, there are limitations on what the funding can be used for.
If you are looking for ways to support this program, their biggest financial needs are those that cannot be covered by existing funding. This includes purchasing incentives for students to enroll or complete their secondary credential (gift cards, etc.) and ensuring students have their basic needs met: providing snacks for classes to help with food insecurity, clothing for job interviews, laptops and internet access to meet technology needs.
There are also volunteer opportunities on campus to help with instruction and overseeing testing. To learn more about any of these opportunities, please get in touch with Brian Hackert at email@example.com.
How can I join the program?
We’re glad you asked! Visit the Sparta Adult Education website here for more information: spartaschools.org/departments/adult-education
When you are ready to sign up, fill out the pre-registration form here: form.jotform.com/90067056156153
They have numerous locations all over Kent County, so don’t worry if you’re not located close to Streams of Hope. We wish you the best of luck on your education journey!