October 19, 2015 | Frederiksted, St. Croix | Royston Philbert/IAD Staff
A new facility to enhance the educational development of residents living in the Frederiksted community in St. Croix received recognition from the Virgin Islands government last month. Government officials applauded the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Croix for establishing a new equipped site to host a General Education Development (GED) program free of charge to the community.
Church leaders celebrated the completion of a new computer lab that will be key to reviewing and testing individuals who wish to obtain their GED certification program, during a special ceremony.
“Education is the key that opens the door of opportunity,” President of the Church in the Caribbean Dr. Kern Tobias as he congratulated local church leaders for remaining committed to the community, thus affording more people a chance to open “that door.”
“This is one of the ways in which we are going to transform our communities,” said Pastor Silton Browne, president of the church in North Caribbean Conference during the ceremony.
Central Adventist Church’s Pastor Wilmoth James said that society cannot sit and wait to be fixed and then move again.
“The less people we have on our streets, the fewer of our children that we have that are not cared for, the less illiteracy we have in our society, the safer all of us are going to be,” said James.
He added that no one is fully educated until he/she has learned about the dependence a person has on the other people in the community.
“We need to find new, innovative and caring ways to contribute to society, because all of us need each other,” he said.
The GED center is equipped with computers and other learning aids, which provide after-school assistance to students and a learning environment for residents who are preparing for the GED examination. The center has five teachers currently working and up to 20 persons can be enrolled in the program twice per week on the evenings.
It all began with a need church members saw in the community in 2008. It was all started by our women’s ministries department to address the literacy in women and education among women in the community, said Berlina Wallace-Berube, director of the program.
“This was addressing one of the seven critical challenges that women face in our community and then we realized that we did not want to limit to women so it was opened to the community,” explained Wallace-Berube.
The GED host site is held in the church’s multi-purpose center and provides certified GED examinations.
“We see a great need for people to complete high school,” said Wallace-Berube. “Youths who have dropped out of school as well as people who have migrated from other islands need to get their GED to continue education and get a proper paying job.”
Wallace-Berube reports that during the recent session completion, 10 individuals successfully obtained employment.
Albert Romaine is one of those who successfully completed the GED program. He moved from the island of Dominica and, thanks to the GE review program at Central Adventist Church, he is presently employed.