Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Adult Literacy Learner Earns His High School Diploma!

When Harry enrolled at the Adult Literacy Program over a year ago, preparing for the GED test was his number one priority. “I had a made-up mind and convinced myself daily of how much I wanted [my diploma], despite 37 years of not having it,” he explained; “I stayed focused”.

The first time that he took the GED test was many years ago; just shortly after he had left high school. Harry realized that being prepared for this second time around was going to take a lot of practice, unrelenting persistence, and his ability to fallback on his strong sense of spirituality and his faith in God. The Program staff couldn’t have been more proud when they received a call from Harry last month – he had just received his GED test scores and had successfully passed! His hard work and determination had paid off.

Harry revealed that he could not have done it without the support and encouragement of his teachers and family. “As long as you were in their [his teachers, Jo Ann and Michelle] classrooms, you were going to learn,” he admitted. He also couldn’t help but be inspired and encouraged by his children’s honor roll grades.

Jo Ann McKinney, Harry’s first teacher at the Program, said that she was struck by his determination and confidence from the start. Jo Ann shared, “He participated in every aspect of class and was willing to do anything outside of the classroom to enhance his education”.

Harry’s next goal is to continue his education and make the most of his musical talents, which include playing the organ in church. His long-term goal is to earn a degree in music and become an Ordained Minister of Music in his church. Congratulations on your success, Harry!



Play Scrabble for a Good Cause


Players face off at the 9th Annual Scrabble Fundraiser for Literacy in March 2010.

For nine years, participants in GHCC’s Scrabble® Fundraiser for Literacy have gathered in the spirit of fun and games to support a good cause — fighting adult illiteracy in Baltimore City. This year marks the event’s tenth anniversary and with an estimated 100 players planning to attend, promises to be the best one yet with live music, a silent auction, food, beer, wine, and fun.

Read more about the event »

Advocating for Adult Education On and Off the Job

February always has us watching the state budget process. While we’ve been spreading the word about the Baltimore Education Coalition‘s campaign to prevent cuts to public education funding, you might not know that the Governor’s budget affects our Adult Literacy & ESOL Program as well.

Todd ElliottRecently we caught up with Adult Literacy & ESOL Program Director Todd Elliott to talk to him about his work at GHCC and on the state level as an advocate for adult education. Todd has worked at GHCC for the past 10 years, and in addition to his efforts here he serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Maryland Association for Adult, Community and Continuing Education (a volunteer role).

Read the interview »

Another Adult Education Success Story

It can be difficult to get started on a Monday, but sharing good news always helps! Today we received an inspiring success story full of praise for our Adult Literacy & ESOL Program:

“James” found out about the Greater Homewood Adult Literacy & ESOL Program by word of mouth, and he claims it was the best thing that ever happened in his tumultuous life. On an educational roller coaster ride trying to get his high school diploma, James had been searching for a program that paid close attention to his needs. His eyes were moist and his voice cracked as he recently asked to speak to his instructor in private. He had this to say:

I’ve been to at least four other GED programs over the years, and this is the only program where I feel like I’m going to get what I need.

At all the other programs the teachers just shoved a copy of some work or other at you, and left it up to you to sink or swim. They didn’t assist you if you had a question, they sat and read the newspaper, or they talked on their cell phones until class was over. I really feel like I can learn here because the instructors teach by taking you step by step through the learning process.

We’d say James got what he needed from GHCC’s Adult Literacy program—just eight months after finding us, he called with the wonderful news that he had received his high school diploma! Congratulations to James, and kudos to the teachers and tutors who never lose sight of what’s most important: our learners and their continued success.

Did you know that nearly one-third of adults in Baltimore lack a high school diploma? Without that education, they struggle to support their families and participate activity in their community. If you know folks like James who would benefit from reading and math classes, please encourage them to call 410-261-3524 for information on upcoming enrollment.

My Tribute to Mary: A Role Model of Persistence

Persistence is defined as “permanence by virtue of the power to resist stress or force; determination, resolution, pluck, stamina, grit, endurance, tenacity, diligence.”

This defines Mary. She was a strong senior citizen determined to get her education.

Enrolled at the Greater Homewood Adult Literacy & ESOL Program since 2008, Mary entered my Reading and Math Classes in September 2009. She worked hard until health issues forced her to take a break from classes. Diligent Mary continued to study at home for several months. We spoke by phone on a number of occasions.

Mary persevered and entered my Reading class in April. I felt the class was too long for her, so I negotiated to establish academic time on Mondays and Wednesdays for brief one-on-one sessions. She agreed! Whew! We met from mid-April to mid-May, until Mary was hospitalized.

She passed away on May 31. I went to her viewing and met her beautiful daughters. Her daughter shared conversations of her final hours with her mom and in doing so, she gave me a precious, precious gift.

Mary has left an educational legacy that speaks to us all: “Pursue your dreams in spite of the challenges and struggles. Press on! Never quit!”

I dearly loved my student and friend, Mary.
She will be deeply missed.

Shared from my heart,
Connie T. Moore, M.Ed, C.A.F.E.
ABE Instructor 

To learn more about how you can get involved with GHCC’s Adult Literacy & ESOL Programs, contact Jannette Seman at or 410-261-0023