|Inmates in JPL's Pre-GED class at CTC congratulate a|
new high school graduate
Annual state funding has enabled this great library to extend its services to many, many members of our community over the course of several years. Last year, our outreach served the Spanish-language refugee population who needed ESL and cultural orientation classes. The refugee resettlement agencies referred more than 130 clients to us for assistance including English language classes, job market skills, and how to navigate the wide choice of milk at Publix or JTA's bus system.
These programs invite a lot of stories.
Our first refugees were a young woman and her sister's father in law. All of her sisters have made it out of Cuba, and the family is making a new life in Florida. One is an engineer. The other is a an accountant. Her fiancee eventually made his way to Jacksonville by way of Mexico and the couple was married at the historic chapel at St. Joseph's last weekend.
This year, we have more stories. The LSTA funding allowed us to take library services to inmates located in the JSO's downtown jail facilities where more than 2,800 inmates reside. "Can I call my mother?" Rindi is a single mother who was thrilled to learn yesterday that she had passed her GED exams and received a State of Florida High School Diploma. "I am one of 15 that my foster mother took care of, and I am the first one to graduate." She rattles on about how her 15 year old daughter challenged her to see who might be first to finish high school. Rindi won.
We learned yesterday that seven more from the July test period passed. During the year we provided more than 1900 instructional hours to about 140 inmates at the pretrial detention facility and the Community Transition Center. More than forty earned high school diplomas and we're still counting; the test is being administered this week to a few more, and the September test will close out the year. The State has many priorities and unfortunately, the funding will not be renewed. We are so grateful for the work it sponsored and the new library users it brought to us.