A Founder Passes But Her Legacy Lives On!

On behalf of the Southeast Ministry board, staff, and learners, we would like to express our gratitude for the life and work of Pastor Wanda McNeill. Her compassion, commitment to service, and her vision have made an enduring impact on the lives of many.

Over 25 years ago, Pastor McNeill decided to turn her focus toward the people who are often considered the least among those living in our nation’s capital. Through Books n’ Balls, a children’s sports and reading program and A-MEN, a GED preparation, job readiness and job placement assistance program, Pastor McNeill was able to positively impact parents, children, returning citizens, and the community as a whole. Her diligence has led to SEM becoming a stable and enduring presence in the community for those looking for positive change and a life of self-sufficiency.

Whenever you hear individuals reminisce about Pastor McNeill, you always hear about the deep bond she developed, not only with the people she served, but with those who decided to join her on this mission.

Her understanding of what it meant to be the church and to be faithful allows the mission work to continue. The picture below is from the last time she visited Southeast Ministry in 2010 and was honored for her service.

Well done good and faithful servant well done!

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I Came From Nothing

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“I came from nothing. I was in a shelter. Sometimes I was sleeping in the streets.”

Kwantia Cummings first came to SEM 5 years ago during what she describes as troubling times.

“I met Mrs. Harris at a hair salon down the street, and she always told people about SEM. She said if there was anyone who was looking for a job or looking to get their GED that SEM was an option.”

“I wasn’t working for 3-4 years, then after coming to SEM, I started working at McDonald’s,” says Kwantia.

During her time at McDonald’s, Kwantia came to realize that she had a passion for working with children.

“I started volunteering at my kids’ school for 2 years. I wasn’t getting paid, but I didn’t miss a day and I wasn’t late. I tried to give them the same impression as if I were employed, so I worked hard. I did whatever I could.”

Kwantia’s hard wark did not go unnoticed.

“Then, the principal came to me and asked if I was looking for a job. I said, ‘yeah.’ On August 22, I started as Dedicated Aid at Center City Public Charter School. Southeast Ministry helped me get to this point. If there was anything I needed, whether it be personal, or a transportation issue, I was able to come to Mrs. Harris. Whenever I come across others in need, I always tell them to go to SEM because whatever they need, there is someone in the building that can help.”

Kwantia acknowledges that the road to self-suffiency is not easy, but her advice to others is to, “stay true to yourself, be dedicated, and work hard!”

For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.
We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to thank you for your commitment to helping create a better future for the people we serve.

Thanks for helping us make a difference.

We wish you a very happy holiday!

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For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit. www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.

We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed.

Last Day for Marshalls Job Fair!

TODAY October 7 , is the LAST day for the Marshalls job fair!

Marshalls will be opening up off of South Dakota Avenue, directly next to the Costcos!

Here are the details for the job fair:

When: TODAY 9:00am – 7:00pm

Where: Holiday Inn Express & Suites

1917 Bladensburg Road NE

Washington, DC 20002

*The Dress Code is business casual!*

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For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit. www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.

We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed.

 

Anything is Possible

This week, Southeast Ministry partnered with the DC Adult and Family Literacy Coalition (DC-AFLC) to celebrate Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week raises public awareness about the need and value of adult education and family literacy, identifies resources needed to support access to basic education programs, and addresses solutions to the barriers faced by adult learners nationwide.

The kick-off event was held at the Brookland Busboys and Poets and included a panel of adult learners, moderated by our very own Valarie Ashley, as well as an essay contest, in which one of our learners, Tina Thompson, won the Beginner’s category!

Along with Mrs. Ashley, the panel featured two of our learners, Shaquita Odom and Naomi Favors, in addition to two other learners from adult education programs in the District.

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Panel of adult learners, moderate by SEM Executive Director, Valarie Ashley

When asked what brought each learner back to school, Naomi answered, ” I felt lost and inadequate, you can’t achieve your goals without a high school diploma or GED.” Shaquita responded by saying, “My family motivated me to go back. I know I’m smart, I just knew it was time to make a change.”

“Motivation is my biggest obstacle, I have to stay focused. My goal is to pass the GED test, enroll at UDC, then go to cosmetology school. I have been dealing with depression, but SEM has been awesome, my teachers are a big help,” Shaquita continued. “We have to remember that all storms pass and anything is possible!”

Naomi added to the discussion by mentioning her goals of getting her diploma and pursuing a medical career. She also added, “My setbacks have been financial and health related, but my obstacles seem minor because of what I want to achieve.”

During the essay contest portion of the event, SEM learner, Tina Thompson won the Beginner’s category.

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SEM learner, Tina Thompson, won the Beginner’s category of the essay contest.

Tina read hear essay aloud for the entire room, which was filled to the point that only standing room remained. Her vivid description of her personal adversities and journey thus far, which included physical and spiritual setbacks, brought her to tears, and brought the entire room to a standing ovation.

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SEM learners (from left to right) Shaquita Odom, Naomi Favors, and Tina Thompson

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SEM learners Shaquita Odom, Naomi Favors, and Tina Thompson pictured with SEM board member Michael Wilker and Michael Ambinder, a representative of the Office of Councilmember Elissa Silverman

 

For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit. www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.

We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed.

 

 

Together We Win

On Friday, September 2, we hosted an open house! The open house was held primarily for new learners who wanted to get more information about our programs.

We were also surprised to see several familiar faces who returned to SEM for additional services. There were a few of our previous learners from years’ past who returned to inform us about their new employment, or to get additional workforce readiness training.

At the event, guests were able to learn about their options and how to sign up for:

  • Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED
  • Job Placement Assistance
  • Resume and Cover Letter Creation

It was exciting to have new faces in the building. We are looking forward to helping the newest members of the Southeast Ministry family!

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For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit. www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.

We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed.

SEM Open House

On Friday, September 2, we will be hosting an Open House!

At this event, you will be able to learn about your options and how to sign up for:

  • Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED
  • Job Placement Assistance
  • Resume and Cover Letter Creation

Doors open at 10 a.m.!

Address: 3111 Martin Luther King Jr Ave, SE

Washington, DC 20032

We ask that each guest be at least 18 years of age, we will also be giving away prizes at the door and light refreshments!

For more information, please call us at (202) 562-2636 or email us at office@southeastministrydc.org

SEM Open House

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I Decided It Was Time

If you were to enter our doors and sit in on a class, you would be taken away by the active participation of our learners. While each individual has his or her own personality and learning style, classroom sessions are a unique and productive blend of size in numbers and teaching styles, as well as learner participation. The room may be in complete silence as learners are very focused on the subject at hand, or you may find each participant working together to problem solve, which builds camaraderie and confidence.

While some learners may be more vocal than others, there is one in particular who, due to physical limitations, cannot speak, but who’s presence is very much felt.

“Due to a stroke I suffered in 1992, I am unable to speak, and sometimes I have a difficult time understanding certain things,” wrote Donna Brittingham. “I first came to Southeast Ministry on August 11, 2014. I would often pass by, but would not enter.”

According to Donna, dropping out of school was easy to do during her high school years, and once she had two children, she decided to dedicate her time to helping them with their studies.

“Now that my daughters are grown, I decided it was time to finally enter Southeast Ministry’s GED program. Mrs. Harris gave me a chance when other programs wouldn’t,” Donna expressed. “Mrs. Harris saw past my disability. The teaching and support staff are patient, kind, and work with me at my own pace. Southeast Ministry helped me realize that no matter what you’re going through, it’s never over. There is always help when you need it.”

Although she is a very dedicated and focused learner, Donna is often seen smiling and laughing with staff and other learners, spreading her warmth and joy around the building. “My advice to the adults considering Southeast Ministry is to be patient and have an open mind. The work load may seem difficult at first, but a willingness to learn will help you excel. Southeast Ministry is here to help, but you must first want to help yourself. Stay positive and don’t give up on yourself.”

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For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit. www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.

We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed.

DC-AFLC Big Tent Meeting 2016

The DC Adult and Family Literacy Coalition (DC-AFLC) is an alliance of adult learners, educators, advocates, public and private program providers, foundations, and individuals from the District of Columbia to promote more effective adult education. One of its goals is to develop ways for the adult education community to share best practices in DC areas. This coalition was created to facilitate that sharing. The DC-AFLC focuses on sharing best practices in assessment, teaching, curriculum development, management, and more.

On Wednesday, July 20, the DC-AFLC held its annual ‘Big Tent’ meeting of current and potential DC-AFLC members. During the meeting, members reflected on recent work, set priorities for the coming year, and announced the winners of various awards.

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Among the award recipients were representatives from the Office of the State Board of Education (OSSE), the DC State Board of Education, and adult learners from a number of adult education programs in the District.

The DC-AFLC advances its mission through the work of three committees: Adult & Family Education Awareness, Best Practices, and Public Policy. A Steering Committee is responsible for the overall direction of the coalition and for coordinating the work of the committees.

Expressing her support for the coalition overall, SEM Executive Director, Valarie Ashley, said, “the committees provide tangible ways to be engaged.”

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SEM Executive Director, Valarie Ashley

 

For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit. www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.

We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed.

 

I Am A 2016 Graduate, And I Am So Excited

*Please click the image above to start the short video.

Since coming to Southeast Ministry in January 2014, Linda has been continuously adding to her list of accomplishments.

Linda recently passed her CASAS test and enrolled at Roosevelt STAY High School in NW.

As of late, Linda has more exciting news, “I recently graduated, June 13th, at Roosevelt Senior High School, so I am a 2016 graduate, and I am so excited about that!”

“There was a point in time where I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it,” Linda shared. “But one day I happened to see Ms. Valarie, not knowing who she was, I was the last person in the room. She waked through, we made eye contact, she smiled and said, ‘this is what I am talking about, dedication!’ Through everything I was going through, I still remained, I pushed myself and made myself stay here.”

During her time at SEM, Linda was very visible. There were times when she would be here a full day, working diligently on 3 or 4 different subject matters.

“SEM allowed me to use their computers. I would stay almost 6, 7, or 8 hours a day. I would not even realize how long I’d been there, until a staff member would say, ‘Linda, it’s 4 o’clock.’ I was like, ‘Really, already?’ It takes time to do all of that work, you can’t Google it, you can’t shortcut it.”

Now that Linda has graduated, she has plans to continue her education.

“I’m going to enroll at UDC in the fall, I am undecided as to which subject I will study, but I will continue to learn. To anyone who is thinking of doing the same, just remember, it’s up to you. Do you want it? How bad do you want it?”

We applaud Linda’s effort since first coming to SEM, and are thrilled that she encourages other adult learners to use education as a pathway to self-sufficiency.

For information regarding donating to Southeast Ministry, our programs, or volunteering, please visit. www.southeastministrydc.org, or call 202-562-2636.

We also invite you to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and follow our Twitter feed, as well as our Instagram page.