NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– A march in New Haven is bringing together Adult and Continuing Education programs from across the state.
More than a thousand people took part in a rally encouraging people to go back to school, regardless of their age, to help turn their lives around.
It’s a march that’s showcasing the importance of education and the chant is simple.
“It’s people out there that want to help and people willing to give second chances, third chances, fourth chances,” said Lachell Hall, New Haven.
The emphasis is on adult and continuing education.
“We want people to come back to school. We want people to make sure that they know it’s about the future,” said a participant.
The center in New Haven is leading the way for Thursday’s gathering, canvassing neighborhoods along the way and encouraging people to get over the fear of going back to school.
“We service students ages 17 to 70 and so there’s no one look or one age or one type of person who can succeed here. You just walk through the doors and that’s why the march is so important. It allows us to make a personal connection,” said Michelle Bonora, New Haven Adult and Continuing Education.
People were coming from Hartford, Danbury, Branford and Bristol. And for some, this type of education has helped them turn their lives around.
“Me coming up, I was in and out of foster care so I wasn’t able to get my education the way I wanted to, and I’ve been through so many things in my life that’s the last thing I was thinking about. But when I decided to come back, they welcomed me here. I’m not talking about a GED, I got a diploma,” said Hall.
And the need is great. According to the State Department of Education, in Connecticut, one out of 10 people don’t have a high school diploma. But in New Haven, it’s one out of every 6 people. And 30-percent of people in the elm city struggle to read.
Thursday’s march and rally on the Green is trying to reduce those statistics.
“It’s important because many people, many adults, our lives are interrupted for whatever reason but as you see everyone is determined. It’s important. It helps our community,” said a participant.
After the march, there was a rally on the Green, providing resources and information to the public.
“I think sometimes the message gets lost when you keep the messaging inside the building and to build awareness angle is one of our main goals and share the impact that we have daily,” said Bonora.