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Thu, May 23

Project pays for books to help people pass GED exam

When Debbie Burnham-Kidwell found out that 23 percent of Mohave County's adult workforce has neither a high school diploma or a GED, she vowed to try to do something about it.

As president of WELCOME (Workplace, Education and Literacy Coalition of Mohave County) Burnham-Kidwell is in a position to help students who are preparing to take the GED exam.

"According to the U.S.

Census Bureau, 23 percent of the adult workforce in the county has neither a diploma nor a General Equivalency Diploma," she said.

"That is the reason we decided to make GED books more available to people who are trying to study for the GED exam."

Burnham-Kidwell said some students studying for the exam cannot afford the $20 book, and although the book is available at the Mohave Community College Foundation Studies Center, the college library and Mohave County libraries, it cannot be checked out.

"Some people need this book to take home to study," she said.

"One woman, who is pregnant, is waiting for the book so she can study it and take the test.

Another woman who needs the book is disabled."

Purchasing the books fits in with the mission statement of WELCOME: to provide literacy education to motivated adults through the efforts of volunteers, the gifts of contributors and the use of specialized curriculum to meet individual and community needs, Burnham-Kidwell said.

WELCOME volunteers solicited money from Mohave County business owners, who donated $2,600 toward 160 GED books, which the group purchased from Hastings Books at a discounted price.

"Business leaders want to see an educated workforce in the community," she said.

"Improving the education level of citizens can improve an individual's and community's economic well being."

The books will go to various organizations, and will then be distributed to "deserving students" who are preparing to take the test.

"We are not done yet," she said.

"We want to make this book as available as we can to people."

Burnham-Kidwell said her personal goal as president of the group is to "quadruple the amount of the books before my term as president expires in May 2004."

WELCOME is a privately funded, non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization.

Businesses and individuals wanting to know more about how to contribute toward the GED Project can call Ann Rooney at 753-0741.

Donations marked for the "GED Project" can be mailed directly to WELCOME at P.O.

Box 4013, Kingman, Ariz.

86402-4013.

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