DETROIT, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Detroit's children and adults are at risk, failing under the crushing weight of poverty. The unemployment, poverty and drop-out rates for Detroit are staggering.
The high school graduation rate in Detroit is between 65-70 percent, while the functional illiteracy rate is 47 percent, according to the Detroit Literacy Coalition.
Aware of the tremendous need for educational support in Detroit, the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center has spent the last several years developing innovative and successful programs that address the shortfalls of unemployment and functional illiteracy.
In March 2011, the Center formally launched The Education Experience, a fully-integrated social work approach to education, designed to help children and adults take control of their lives and enable them to see the possibilities for their future.
"We want residents of the area to know that we are here to give them the tools they need to succeed," said Diane Renaud, Executive Director/CEO of The Education Experience at St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center. "By providing pathways to empowerment that our students didn't know were available to them, we help our students break through barriers which have prevented them from achieving their full potential."
The Children's Education Experience consists of free after-school and summer programs for grades 1-3, to ensure that youngsters do not fall behind academically. The Adult Education Experience provides free, personalized tutoring for adult students to assist in passing the GED, as well as continuing education and career training opportunities.
The Adult program has a remarkable success rate, with 80 percent of its students passing all five segments of the GED on their first attempt (and 94% of Center students passing 4 out of 5 segments on their first try). Unlike similar programs, where the same pass rate is only 25 percent, The Education Experience also provides additional services to ensure success, such as payment of testing fees and transportation to and from the testing site (some limitations apply).
"Our vision is to increase awareness of The Education Experience, so that the community takes full advantage of the services we offer," Renaud said.
"We want to be a part of making a true difference in Detroit, by helping to fill the gap," Renaud said, "and improving the economic stability of families through education."
Founded in 1844, the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center most recently served Southeastern Michigan as a residential/foster care agency for children. However, in 2006, the Center closed its residential campus due to elimination of funding. It was determined that rather than close the doors of the organization, to return to its roots – providing assistance to the residents of the community through educational programs.
St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center moved to Detroit to continue nearly 170 years of service to the community through basic skill-building and academic enhancement for at-risk children and adults. These programs are designed to help build self-sufficiency skills for academic and employment success, personal achievement and dignity.
In March 2011, The Education Experience was launched, with expanded hours and programs, to better serve the community.