Education Is Essential To The Community

COURTESY PHOTO

Northeast Kingdom Learning Services’ location in Newport.

NEWPORT -- Educating the people of a community is vital to its success. Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, Inc. is doing just that in its Newport, St. Johnsbury, Island Pond, Hardwick and Canaan locations.

Michelle Tarryk, executive director of NEKLS explains and defines perfectly how NEKLS can help YOU, your business, your family and your friends.

NEKLS has been in existence since the mid 60's and was founded by Eva Warner, with services initially provided in her home. "What I would like this community to know is that NEKLS is a private non-profit provider of educational services. Our Adult Education and Literacy Program offers high school credentialing programs, including GED for un-enrolled 16-years-old and older, Adult Diploma Program for ages 20 and older (with 18- and 19-year-olds able to participate with an age agreement from the local high school), High School Completion Program for both un-enrolled and enrolled age 16--22, and Drop Out Recovery for ages 22 and older. Our Tutorial Services Program offers academic instruction for K-12 students and our Children's Integrated Services Early Intervention program offers developmental education for children ages 0-3 with identified developmental delays. Our Children's Integrated Services Family Support program offers family support services to families with children who need assistance in areas such as finding a physician for their children and more," said Tarryk.

She went on to say, "We also offer career readiness, soft skills for employees, literacy programs, ACT and Pearson Vue testing services, college transition programs and resource referrals to partnering agencies such as NEKCA, CCV, North Country Career Center, Parent Child Center, Area Agency on Aging and others."

Most programs are supported through State and Federal grants. Some are supported through fees for services paid by individuals or school districts, which means that the financial impact on an individual or family is minimal in most cases.

A common misconception is that NEKLS is part of NEKCA. Tarryk explained it clearly. "No, while we are not part of NEKCA, we do partner and collaborate with them on many projects and programs. The work that NEKCA does is important to the community and they recognize, like we do, that education and eliminating poverty are connected on many levels. We work well together and support each other's efforts to improve the lives of Vermonter's in the Northeast Kingdom."

The NEKLS association with the North Country Career Center is something that Tarryk teased, "We work closely with the NCCC in that we provide assessments for students looking to enter the LNA program. We also can provide support services to adult students that are enrolled in NCCC courses. We expect to announce a more detailed relationship in the near future!"

Another question often asked is about donations and volunteers. Tarryk said, "We encourage people to give to our Gift of Education fund which supports paying for items such as GED tests for students in need, instructional materials, childcare support, or other needs that a student may encounter which will assist them in completing their education. It is a fund not used frivolously and it is always in need of replenishment. As a non-profit, we struggle financially to meet the needs of our students and welcome any and all donations. Volunteers are always welcome; however, because we work with youth and vulnerable populations we do require background checks."

Tarryk concluded, "NEKLS is an amazing agency with a talented and passionate staff that helps many people in the Northeast Kingdom. Whether you're an employer looking to enhance your employee's skills, a parent with a child who needs tutoring for one subject or more, or a student of any age that wants to earn that high school diploma or GED, we can help. Because we work with so many other agencies, when other life challenges threaten your educational goals we can connect you with other agencies to help you be successful. I hope this community will utilize our services more, because we truly are here to help. We feel strongly that education is essential."

For more information about Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, Inc.'s programs or services, or to volunteer or donate, contact any one of our Community Education Centers or visit our website at www.neklsvt.org.

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