GOSO is able to reach hundreds of justice-involved young men each year because we have a strong team of dedicated and passionate individuals who show up each day, ready to hit the ground running. All of our team members bring unique talents and perspectives to our organization, and our work wouldn’t be possible without each person’s contributions.
This month, we’re introducing you to Jasmine Harden, who is our Senior Director of Educational Services. Jasmine has devoted her entire career to advocacy and providing services to youth and families, and we are fortunate she joined our team three months ago to head our education services department. Later this month, Jasmine will begin a new literacy program, with LearnUP tutors who will help participants earn their high-school equivalency (HSE).
Read our interview with her below:
What does this literacy program mean to you?
When I think about the GED Foundations Program and providing literacy support to our participants, it goes beyond the minimal thought of being able to sit and read. By engaging in this program, our participants will have access to additional services, other educational opportunities and various employment options because they made the decision to enhance their skills and knowledge. Knowing that participants will be able to stand in rooms where they can feel confident in themselves and achieve their goals regardless of their circumstances, is what I look forward to the most.
What do you think it means for our participants?
Like all programming here at GOSO, our ability to be creative derives from exactly what our participants need to be successful. Creating the GED Foundations Program, acknowledges the support and preparedness that is needed to address the barrier of participants obtaining their high school equivalency due to failing to meet specific reading levels. I think this will provide the reassurance participants need to feel vested in our education programming and in their future.
Are there any learning curves you’ve had to navigate?
Making the decision to further your education is a huge step. Partnering with LearnUP Centers has helped us rethink literacy norms and structure this program around meeting participants where they are. Understanding that each participant will come into this program at various reading levels, it has challenged us to design this program strictly around our population and best practices we have learned throughout the education exploration at GOSO.
Why is achieving a sense of literacy at any age important to personal growth?
This would be no small win for our participants. Taking the step towards obtaining their high school equivalency and building a foundation to be successful, shows the commitment our participants have. Education is oftentimes connected to age as we traditionally navigate various educational institutions throughout our lives. The GED Foundations Program and other programs alike, sets the standard for the continuance of learning regardless of age and area of study.
What does having the skill of being literate or becoming more literate represent for our participants aspirations?
That anything is obtainable. Each participant will come into the program with a reason for what brought them here and what the next step is on their journey. The accomplishment of completing the GED Foundations Program will set the tone for other goals to follow.