One of the exciting things that we do here at Helping Up Mission is help men earn their high school diplomas. In partnership with the South Baltimore Learning Center, our men can participate in a diploma class where they prepare to earn their diplomas through the State of Maryland’s traditional General Education Diploma (GED) or the newer External Diploma Program (EDP).
Three months ago Ervin got pretty discouraged in the class. Unfortunately, that is pretty common among men who have been out of school for awhile. The good news is that most work through it. At that point, Ervin was assigned to write a paragraph and this is what he wrote:
I dropped out of school in the 10th grade. In 1982, I went to Dunbar at night to get my GED, but I didn’t finish. Last year, I went to BCCC for my GED, and I did not finish. Now I’m here at Helping Up Mission, and I’m trying again. My diploma is very important to me not only for employment but also for personal reasons. There is so much I need to do and so much I need to learn. I am afraid I can’t do this. I want to give up.
To his credit, Ervin let the class read his paragraph. Then other men decided to share their struggles, letting Ervin know he was not alone. Class that day was a miracle. Guys supported and encouraged each other to do the next right thing. Ervin decided to stay with it and to get extra tutoring, which helped him fill the gaps in his knowledge of the subjects where he was struggling.
Now, three months later, he has almost completed the External Diploma Program. He is doing so well, and feeling so good, that he is even taking an advanced computer class in the evening these days. Recently, Ervin wrote another paragraph as part of his entrance into the External Diploma Program. Here is what he wrote:
This is the time in my life to finish the GED I never finished. I dropped out of high school in the 10th grade. In 1982, I went to Dunbar High School for my GED and didn’t finish. Last year, I went to Baltimore City Community College to get my GED, and I did not finish. Now I’m here at the mission and trying it again. To receive my high school diploma is very important to me. This is my time to finish.
This is why I come to work every day. Man, I love my job!
Spiritual Life Director