March '17 Update

Greetings from Lake Providence!

March has been a busy month for Together for Hope.  Through the HiSET/GED program, seven different students have begun the actual testing process to receive their high school equivalency diplomas. As of April 4th, our first student has completed all five sub-tests and is now a high school graduate. Additional students have passed up to three parts of the test and have their sights set on finishing by the end of the spring.

Additionally, a few students recently completed an application process for a jobs program with Workforce Louisiana. Through the partnership of TFH and Louisiana Delta Community College, these two students will now have access to work experience, resume building, income, job training, and scholarship funds to take college courses and certificate programs upon the successful completion of their HiSET. One student was beaming as she described her excitement over having her first job. She’s proud to be a role model for her daughter both with her educational attainments and her new career pathway.

Also, as of early April, I’ve worked with the steering committee of the Louisiana Development Ready Communities task force to complete the Economic Development Strategic Plan for Lake Providence. The plan, hopefully, will be reviewed and adopted by the town council in late April. In the plan, there are several goals that Together for Hope can help support, such as building a leadership development program, revitalizing the downtown, assisting with new business support/retention, and supporting the town’s efforts to establish a farmers’ market.

Partnerships with the local schools continue to go well, both with tutoring and the Art Club. Principal Jones of Southside Elementary recently invited me to serve on the School Improvement Committee. These discussions have created space to talk with administrators and teachers about the role Together for Hope plays in supporting public education in Lake Providence. We’ll continue to support teachers and students with school supplies, though all parties are interested in increasing our efficiency and methods for distributing the supplies. An additional, exciting idea will be to partner congregations with classrooms/grade levels at Southside, allowing greater chances for churches to get to know teachers and students throughout the year and direct their support in a more focused and helpful manner.

Finally, I send my appreciation to Woodland Baptist Church for sending financial support and resources for the HiSET program, and also to Church for the Highlands and their youth group’s service learning trip to Lake Providence in early March. The youth worked on two parks and were able to form relationships with local leaders and Lake Providence youth. Thanks for all of your help!