August 12 - 19, 1998

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Project HOPE Helps Residents Earn GEDs


Project HOPE, an adult education center in southwest Hartford, helps city residents get high school diplomas.

The program started in 1991 when the Sisters of Saint Joseph became aware that 90 percent of the residents of Charter Oak Terrace/Rice Heights did not have high school diplomas or GED's.

The program began in the hall of St. John, the Evangelist Church on Newfield Avenue. In July 1992 the program moved into a storefront at 873 New Britain Avenue.

HOPE stands for Helping Oppressed Persons through Education. In 1993 the Sisters of Mercy joined the faculty making the program a collaborative effort.

The center has continued to grow, expanding into an adjacent storefront at 875 New Britain Avenue. Classes are held from 9 am to 2:15 pm, allowing young mothers to attend classes while their children are in school. The concentrated schedule, five hours per day, four days per week, enables students to earn a GED in a short period of time. The faculty includes three full-time and two part-time teachers.

In 1996 a computer lab was added. Students attend computer classes twice a week.

When Project HOPE began seven years ago there were three objectives:

1. To assist people living in the southwest area of Hartford to improve their status in society;
2. To obtain classes to prepare students to obtain GED's;
3. To offer classes in computer literacy to enable students to enter the work force with basic computer skills.

The words of Langston Hughes, a noted African-American poet sum up Project HOPE's vision for the future:

Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die.
life is a broken winged bird
that cannot fly

There have been too many "broken winged" birds in our city. Project HOPE's dream is to help many more to fly.

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