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A New Direction

GED graduates

Your support opens new doors for the homeless
When you think of the Nashville Rescue Mission, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Feeding the hungry? Sheltering the homeless?
While most people know the Mission serves meals and provides beds for the hungry and homeless, and more are becoming aware of the life-recovery programs offered—not everyone knows about the educational opportunities that are also available through the Mission.
Keys to OpportunityClassroom learning
Education is a powerful key in breaking the cycle of homelessness. Education not only raises self-esteem and gives hope for the future, it also contributes to one’s ability to find employment and succeed in life. This is why the Mission is committed to helping the men and women in our programs obtain the skills necessary to become gainfully employed and become contributing members of this community. We want to help those struggling get off the streets and move on to a more productive and better way of life.
“If you don’t have a diploma, earning a GED is an important step to securing a better future. Many jobs require either a diploma or GED.” –Rheadie
One size does not fit all at the Mission. As each person enters a life-recovery program here, they are tested and evaluated to determine their educational needs. “We try to meet each person wherever they are in terms of their skill level,” says Dr. Jay Juday, Director of Education for the Mission. “Most of the students we see have had many doors closed in their face because of not having a high school diploma,” explains Dr. Juday. “If they don’t have one, our goal is to help him or her work toward obtaining their GED. If they do, then we try to build upon that with additional skills. It is in the learning process they build confidence and expand their opportunities for employment.”
The Value of a GED
Around 96 percent of employers and 95 percent of higher education institutions regard a GED credential as equal to a high school diploma, according to The American Council on Education. Passing the GED is worth about $5 more per hour, $10,000 more per year. Using the GED as a stepping-stone to earning a college degree can potentially increase a person’s income by more than $1 million over his or her working lifetime.
“I’m grateful to everyone at the Mission who helped me earn my GED. I could not have done it without their time and encouragement.” –Wendy
“During the 2010/2011 school year we had a total of 14 students receive their GEDs,” said Dr. Juday. “Many plan to go on to college and pursue additional educational opportunities. We’ve already had several of our GED graduates from past years go on to earn Associate and Bachelor degrees. It’s exciting to watch them set goals and succeed.” 
More Than a Diploma
While GED training is the main focus of our educational efforts, it doesn’t stop there. The Mission works with students to improve their math and literacy skills, opening up new options for employment in today’s workforce. All men and women in the Mission’s life-recovery programs learn budgeting, how to balance a checkbook, computer training and other skills that will help them develop what it takes to face life’s challenges.
Ultimately, the classroom lessons are designed to change lives outside of the classroom. A GED certificate teamed with the knowledge of exactly who a man or woman is in Christ becomes exactly what that person needs to propel them into the life God intended them to enjoy in the first place.
“I cannot tell you how excited I was when I got my GED test results back,” shares Jeff who recently passed the GED exam. “I could hardly believe it. I passed! Now that I have my GED, more opportunities are open for me in terms of work. It also means I can go to college. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of my life holds.”
“When I first found out I had passed the GED exam, I think I was in shock,” says Brian, another recent GED graduate. “It took several tries, but I was determined not to give up.”
Thanks to your generosity and the faithful efforts of our education volunteers, these men and women are able to reenter society as contributing members and have hope for a brighter future. Thank you for continuing to support these programs that are changing lives.


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