By Olga Phelps, Literacy Assistant, Heart of Illinois Adult Literacy Center
Heart of Illinois Adult Literacy Center at the YWCA of Pekin is proud to offer a free GED program designed to give adult learners the resources necessary to be able to get their diploma. We have all ages of adult learners working on passing their tests, from 17 years old all the way to senior citizens! It is never too late to start your journey, and our staff and team of volunteer tutors are here to help encourage you the entire way. We are grateful to receive funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and private donors from our community to make it all possible. This funding removes financial barriers and ensures that there is no financial requirement for any learners to participate in our program. Learners who enroll with us receive at no cost a Kaplan GED study guide, practice tests, and other tools that a learner may need. Each of the fees for the four exams is also included while enrolled in the program. If a learner needs extra help in a subject before taking a test, we match them up with one of our tutors for one on one tutoring. This personal connection helps the learner to understand and grow their knowledge of the different subjects for them to be able to pass each of the tests.
Our mission is always to improve lives through literacy. We never give up on any of our learners no matter what age they are. It is amazing seeing what our learners can accomplish through hard work and perseverance. When a learner passes their tests and achieves their diploma, they are automatically invited to our GED graduation ceremony held in the summer each year. We enjoy celebrating this great achievement with family, friends, and other graduates who will encourage them to continue their journey! It is always our hope that our learners will return to the Heart of Illinois Adult Literacy Center as a volunteer or to help celebrate with each new class of graduates every year.
For many, achieving their GED is not just the end of a test, but the beginning to a new chapter! We work with many community services to help learners take their next step. We help new grads enroll at Illinois Central College for those interested in pursuing a certificate or degree after their GED. There have been several of our students that have been accepted into ICC’s Workforce Equity Initiative program which allows them to receive training through a trade that is no cost/low payment to them. We have also referred learners to other resources to help build their resumes and focus on their skills to find employment. Overall, we work to better enhance the lives of adults in our community through education, develop an appreciation for lifelong learning, and provide adults of all ages the opportunity to change their futures.
For information about GED preparation, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language programs, or becoming a volunteer tutor, please refer to our website: www.ywcapekin.org/adult-literacy. You can also call our office at 309-347-2104 extension 4040 or email us at [email protected].
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