Keep On Striving

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In just eight months, Danielle Cooke went from doubting herself to passing the GED exam!

“When I came to SEM, at first I was doubting myself, like I wasn’t really going to learn anything, but something in my mind pushed me to keep coming. Then, I started learning a whole lot,” Danielle says.

“By coming here I got refreshed on my math skills and my reading skills. After a while, everything came back to me, I was able to remember a lot of the math and reading skills that I learned in the past.”

Reflecting on her time at SEM, Danielle smiled widely and said, “the Southeast Ministry staff pushed me and made me comfortable. They gave me belief, and they gave me the motivation to keep on going and keep on striving to get my GED.”

Now that Danielle has her GED, she plans to join the coast guard.

“The first time I took the ASVAB test, I couldn’t remember a lot of the math. Now after coming to Southeast Ministry, I refreshed my math and reading skills, so I know I can pass it.”

Danielle also encourages other adult learners to push through when thing seem difficult.

“Whenever you feel like giving up, keep going, stay motivated. There’s going to be times when you want to quit, but don’t, just keep working 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, as well as our Instagram page.

My Only Job Was To Get It Done

*Please click the image above to watch the short video*

The first time Courtney Williams came to Southeast Ministry, he wasn’t able to enroll in our GED prep class. “I talked to Mrs. Harris the first session, she told me it was full, so I came back the second session,” Courtney said.

He did not let that stop him. After having to wait and maintain the motivation to earn his GED, Courtney came back focused on the task at hand, “my only job was to get it done.”

During his time at SEM, Courtney was very engaged in our learning environment, and could often be heard speaking on behalf of his peers, and sharing his personal passion for education and staying on the right track, especially when at times where guest speakers visited SEM, and opened the floor to our learners.

“I like how SEM breaks up the classes, and the afternoon tutoring, it helps a lot. SEM has awesome teachers, great teachers, actually. They didn’t let me fail. I couldn’t do it without them.”

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.

Economic Equality

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SEM learners took a picture with Representative James Clyburn

 

On Thursday, May 12, a group of our learners attended the Economic Equality Conference on Capitol Hill at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation. The conference focused on economic, racial and gender inequality, hunger, and poverty in the local DC area, as well as a session focusing on inequality issues across the country.

Members of Congress were featured, including major Presidential campaign representatives from both parties, and nationally recognized experts on hunger and poverty.

Our learners were actively involved in the discussion, sharing their insight into some of the issues our community faces, and also asking the Presidential campaign representatives engaging questions.

“People talk all of the time about housing, we need affordable housing, how are you going to make that happen?” asked SEM learner, Rena Wright.

One of the Presidential candidates answered her question, but Rena figured it to be a vague response. Rena then followed up her question by asking, “No, how are you going to actually put an effort into us and try to find us housing?” Rena’s questions delighted the audience, which included other adult learners, and individuals who earn low-incomes.

Seemingly surprised at Rena’s directness, the candidate responded by saying, “That’s a great question, I think creating an environment in which people have a job and an opportunity has to be the cornerstone of what we’re talking about, because you cannot afford a house if you don’t have the resources in order to make that investment.”

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.

Better and Better

*Please click the image above to watch the short video*

Aaron Thomas says ever since he came to Southeast Ministry, things have been getting “better and better.”

“I’ve been to a lot of programs, but when I came here, I had an at-home feeling. Not that I was just another person here to start the program, it was like, ‘what do you need?’ They catered to my needs. They made sure I got what I needed,” Aaron continued.

“When I first came here, I needed everything: job readiness, a GED, time management skills, I really needed everything when I first arrived.”

While at SEM, Aaron was a participant in our job readiness program, GED prep class, and he was also active with one of our partner organizations, SOME (So Others Might Eat). At SOME, Aaron enrolled in the Building Maintenance Service Technician training program.

“Since coming to Southeast Ministry, I have certifications in building maintenance, HVAC, I have my GED, and right now I’m currently enrolled at UDC. I’m building … I’m a supervisor at MAX Insulation, things are just getting better and better,” Aaron said.

“I want to tell other adult learners something, don’t stop, it’s not too late, and always try your best.”

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.

U.S. Vets

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During the last month we have been working collaboratively with the United States Veterans Initiative. The US Vets Initiative is an organization that provides housing, employment and counseling services to our nation’s veterans, men and women from all branches of the armed forces who have served their country from World War II to the current conflict in Afghanistan.

As a result of our collaboration, we initially worked with a group of 12 veterans in our job readiness program. Each participant completed an intake process, which included resume writing and review, job searching, and interview skills training.

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We are excited to have some of our nation’s veterans at SEM and hope to continue to collaborate with such a wonderful organization!

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.

 

Something Buzzing About This Organization

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“I first came here on an assignment from another program in August 2015,” said Kenneth Adams.

The program that Kenneth is referring to is Project Empowerment, a transitional employment program offered by the Department of Employment Services (DOES).

“I didn’t even really understand what was going on here, but I felt that there was something definitely buzzing about this organization and the program. I felt that being as though I was already going to be here, it would be advantageous for me to take some time to see what the program had to offer,” Kenneth continued.

Kenneth, who is a returning citizen, acknowledged the fact that he had new things to learn as he reacclimated himself to society, “the information that I had was just so out of date that I really was just not prepared for what’s going on right now in the job market.”

Knowing that he wanted a license and a job in property management, Kenneth took full advantage of our resources, he received job readiness training, and used our computers for research on a daily basis.

“SEM allowed me the time and the resources to study to take the test and learn as much as I can. I couldn’t afford a school, so I used the computers here to download any and everything I could pertaining to the subject. I learned more than I probably would have learned in a class.”

Kenneth worked diligently and passed his property management exam!

“But, then, here’s comes the licensing fee. Money was an issue, but Ms. Ashley told me, ‘If it’s money that’s preventing you from moving on to the next level, then we can always help.’ The organization actually gave me some money to help pay for my license. I submitted it, and got it back on Monday.”

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.

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I Knew This Was Something I Had To Do

*Please click the image above to play the short video*

“I came here because I wanted to do something different with myself,” said Shanta Montague. “Every time I tried to go apply for a job, they either ask for a high school diploma or a GED, and that seemed to hinder me from doing what I always wanted to do.”

Shanta has been coming to SEM since January of this year. “As far as me getting closer to my goals and being successful, I knew this was something I had to do.”

Shanta admits that she had to make a few adjustments once first arrived to SEM. “Once I got into the classroom, I had to get comfortable within to have an open mind to be willing to learn.”

“Southeast Ministry made me feel good once I started coming. It makes me feel like I have the drive now to do something different with myself instead of being at dead-end jobs. I want to be successful, and I know education is a very important part of that.”

Shanta also encourages other adult learners to come to Southeast Ministry, “Come open-minded, come willing to learn. Have drive and ambition, I believe you’ll get through it, it’s all about what you make it.”

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.

Achieving Our Collective Greatness Now

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Ramona Edelin

 

On Thursday, February 25, Southeast Ministry learners were visited by Ramona Edelin.

Ramona is a scholar, activist, and executive consultant with forty years of experience in leadership to uplift and advance African Americans and the economically disadvantaged. She has served as Executive Director of the District of Columbia Association of Chartered Public Schools since 2006. A nationally respected lecturer, her media presentations include network, public and cable television, radio, print, and other published venues.

During her visit to Southeast Ministry, Ramona gave each learner a copy of her book titled, “We The Village: Achieving Our Collective Greatness Now.”

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Ramon Edelin’s book, “We The Village: Achieving Our Collective Greatness Now”

Through a group visioning activity, Ramona used her book to help guide the thinking and dialogue of our learners to find solutions to some of the social issues that affect them personally, as well as communally.

“We need our communities back, when I was younger, we would actually go to Capitol Hill and sit in those meetings with the congressmen, and those other meetings where things actually happened,” said Timothy Glover, a SEM learner.

“I mean, in just those few pages of the book we read today, I feel like I need to do something. There’s more to do out here other than stand on the corner and rob or steal. The younger generation, like me, needs to do something more positive out here,” said SEM learner, Courtney Williams.

The group visioning session ended with a strong sense that it would lead to positive action by the SEM learners involved.

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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, as well as our Instagram page.

 

Ban the Box Training

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In 2014, the District of Columbia joined a growing number of states and local jurisdictions (including Baltimore, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland) that have adopted “ban-the- box” laws. The District’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014 (“the Act”), like other “ban-the-box” laws, prohibits many private employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application.

On February 17, Katie Wallat, staff attorney at Bread for the City, came to Southeast Ministry to provide information and training to SEM learners about the new “ban-the-box” laws.

The Act applies to employers with more than ten employees working in Washington, D.C. It prohibits those employers from inquiring about, or requiring an applicant to disclose, the applicant’s history of arrests or criminal accusations if those arrests or accusations have not resulted in a conviction, unless the charges are currently pending. It also prohibits employers from inquiring about, or requiring the applicant to disclose, criminal convictions until after the employer makes a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.

For more information about the Fair Criminal Record screening Amendment Act of 2014, please click here.

For additional resources on returning citizens and employment, please visit the DC Office of Human Rights’ webpage.

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.