Ministry offers G.E.D. tutoring, computer classes

Apr. 05, 2014 @ 11:58 PM

The Helping Others Prepare through Education ministry, or HOPE, plans to begin offering tutoring for G.E.D. testing, as well as basic computer classes.

This ministry previously offered tutoring and classes as the Christian Women's Job Corps. It recently transitioned to HOPE, and classes are starting again for both women and men. HOPE is a branch of the Sevier County Association of Baptists.

Veta King, volunteer interim director of the ministry, said all that is needed is for the first students to sign up, and classes will begin.

"We're just starting it back up, so I expect that within a few weeks of people becoming aware, we'll have students," King said.

All classes will take place at the Baptist Center at 835 West Main Street. The women's G.E.D. class will be offered on Tuesdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the men's G.E.D. class will be offered on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., the women's basic computer class will be taught on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and the men's basic computer class will be taught on Thursdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Computer classes last six weeks.

Previously, classes were for women. "I'm not real sure why they started that, separating the women and men like that, but it may be that part of the Christian Women's Job Corps was mentoring and just being there to listen," King said. "I think sometimes women relate better to women and men relate better to men. We hope to be more than just teacher, we want to include Bible study and want to be there to listen if they need a friend."

Tutors at HOPE will instruct in math, language (reading and writing), science and social studies. Participants will take a pretest to determine areas for study, and when they are prepared, will take the G.E.D. exam through the Sevier County Board of Education's Adult Education Program.

Right now, between the G.E.D. tutoring and basic computer classes, there are three instructors ready. In the past volunteers also helped out. King said that as the program grows, she hopes to recruit more volunteers to offer more classes, including classes at different times, to accommodate students.

King believes the biggest advantage the ministry can offer over other adult education programs is the class size.

"It's a smaller class, so a lot of times it's one-on-one," King said. "Sometimes when it's a handful of students, they get more attention than they would in a larger class. I'd rather have more classes with few students."

In the five years that the program has been around, King estimates 30 participants have received a G.E.D.

"We had some successes, mostly women, who have gotten their G.E.D.s," King said. "Some have gone on to Walters State. Some have gone on into the workforce."

King works at the Pigeon Forge Public Library and said that through the library, she has seen a need for more computer education.

"We have a lot of patrons come in and need assistance with online job applications, and that's going to be one of the key things we try to teach when we do the basic computer classes," King said. "A lot of people come in the library and have not sat in front of a computer before. It's really foreign to them. So many businesses, you know, they don't take any type of hard copy applications. It's almost all online, and that makes it difficult for people who don't have computer knowledge."

For more information about the G.E.D. tutoring or basic computer classes, contact Veta King at 640-7614 or the Sevier County Association of Baptists at 453-0124.

jold@themountainpress.com