Kids First Community Center introduces new adult education program

By AMALIA KORTRIGHT/Staff Writer

ALABASTER- The Kids First Community Learning Center held a celebration for Shelby County Adult Education Day on Nov. 15 at the Shelby County Schools Professional Development Office in Alabaster.

During the event, Kids First kicked off their new adult education and outreach program, Bridge of Hope. Bridge of Hope was designed to help adults in the community through education on professional development skills.

“There’s so much hate and violence and crime in life. Today is a day of encouragement. No matter what it is, we’re all going through something,” Kids First Community Learning Center Executive Director Cindy Hawkins said.

Hawkins said that Kids First was originally inspired to start Bridge of Hope after seeing several generations of students pass through Kids First programs.

“There are adults who we helped when they were younger, and now we’re helping their kids. Because the kids’ parents needed help, we started the program,” Hawkins said. “It helps the parents get prepared for a job and to keep the job.”

According to Hawkins, Bridge of Hope will help parents develop interview and resume skills, provide help with ACT and GED testing and hold workshops for parents.

Hawkins said that having a better education often leads to financial stability, which gives parents more opportunities to better provide for their children.

“It’s going to help, because through education, jobs and resources, we will provide children with a stable home. It’s going to increase both the children’s and the parents’ likelihood of success in the future,” Hawkins said. “We want to encourage, connect and inspire the future generations to do better through education.”

Organizations that have collaborated with Kids First for the program include the State of Alabama and Shelby County Boards of Education, the Alabaster Career Center, the Literacy Council of Central Alabama and Gateway Counseling.

“This is where we make a difference in the lives of individual people. There is always some difficulty that precedes the reward at the end,” Alabama State Board of Education Board Member Stephanie Bell said.