NEW YORK – 151 local women, wearing traditional cap and gowns, celebrated receiving their high school equivalency diploma (also known as the GED) on Thursday, June 19th in the annual ceremony at Grace Outreach, a South Bronx educational program for women only.
Additionally, 28 women earned recognition for their college efforts – 22 women who are matriculating to CUNY as freshmen this fall, and six women who earned two year and four-year degrees respectively from Bronx Community College, Lehman College and Baruch College.
Grace Outreach offers three programs that give young women who left high school a second chance to succeed. The first is designed to provide students with the academic skills to earn their high school equivalency diploma. The second, College Prep, helps women gain access to the higher education needed to significantly improve their earning power. The third, Career Prep, assists individual women with identifying areas of professional interests, teaching job-related skills, and accessing quality job training programs.
Over 200 family members and friends attended the graduation event, held at Grace Outreach’s site at the Immaculate Conception School on 151st Street in the Bronx.
According to Stephanie Gomez, a 2014 Bronx Community College graduate who earned her equivalency diploma with Grace Outreach in 2011, "When I began Grace Outreach, I had no confidence in myself as a student or as a learner. I found that the teachers at GO really cared about me, and my success. I have used that positive momentum to go to community college, graduate, and continue at Hunter this fall, where I will be majoring in psychology. Grace Outreach pushed me forward."
Graduate Tamika Moye added: "I was particularly motivated to get my diploma by the dedication and the high energy of the entire organization of Grace Outreach. They made it easy for me to stick with it, and because of that I am here today in cap and gown with my sisters." Tamika has used her GED diploma to begin vocational training at Grace Institute.
Grace Outreach fills a critical need of communities in the South Bronx by providing low-income women a pathway to financial independence. Its specialized approach to education enables young women to build a better future for themselves and their families. The program closes a major gap in educational services, as these women no longer have access to the New York City public school system.