Mercy Learning Center of Bridgeport, Inc. (MLC) has announced that it will celebrate its graduates, new U.S. citizens, and other significant student achievements at its annual Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, May 23, starting at 10 a.m., at The Klein Memorial Auditorium.
Over the past 32 years, Mercy Learning Center has educated more than 14,000 low income women and children through its adult education and early childhood education programs. The nonprofit, non-denominational organization offers two paths to earning a high school diploma: General Education Diploma (GED) preparation and the National External Diploma Program (NEDP).
Thirty MLC students will receive their high school diplomas at the Recognition Ceremony. Vanessa from her small village in Mexico could not speak a word of English when she enrolled at MLC. After three years of instruction Monday through Friday and staying late after classes, she entered the GED program where she recently earned her high school diploma. The GED program was the best option for her because it allowed her to remain in a classroom environment, which will prepare her for college.
Empowered by her achievements, Vanessa said, “Mercy Learning Center made me an independent woman. Therefore, I am no longer afraid to speak English because I can do my errands without my husband’s company. Before, I thought I was born only to have babies, take care of the house, and take care of my husband. Mercy Learning Center made me think that education is the key to succeed in life.”
“This is an exciting time for Mercy,” said Jane Ferreira, MLC’s president and CEO. “As we enter our 32nd year, we are proud of the 30 graduating this year, as well as the 344 that have graduated before them. Vanessa’s accomplishment, and the educational accomplishments of all of our graduates, show how a supportive program, with broad community support, can help underserved women reach their goals, achieve their potential, and improve their lives and the lives of their families.”
Mercy Learning Center, a nondenominational woman’s literacy center, provides basic literacy and life skills training to underserved women using a holistic approach within a compassionate, supportive environment. All women are welcomed without regard for race, religion, color, creed, sexual orientation or national origin. All programs are offered at no cost, thanks to the support of donors.
MLC’s Literacy and Life Skills Program served more than 1,000 women with the help of 242 volunteer tutors this year. MLC students are predominantly low-income (98%), speak a primary language other than English (82%), and virtually all functioned below the intermediate level (roughly 4th grade) in reading and math upon enrollment. Current year students range in age from 17 to 67 and hail from 53 different countries.