Street Humanities brings successes to council
Street Humanities gives people who’ve had few breaks in their lives a chance to take college courses, expanding the limits of the world they are used to.
Diane Nakamura, executive director of the Association Advocating for Woman and Children (AWAC), and Wayne Hughes, executive director of the Northern John Howard Society, updated council on the successes of Street Humanities during Monday’s meeting.
The impact the program has on some people was underscored by Vern Haley, an alumnus of the Baldy Hughes Therapeutic Community program, who Nakamura said was a star pupil.
“It was the first time in my life, at 46 years old, I was walking into a college,” Haley said.
A man who spent 17 years in jail and battled drug addiction, Haley said if a security guard had seen him in his past life entering a college, he’d have been asked to leave. In the Street Humanities program, Haley looked into a microscope for the first time and saw DNA.
“I’m amazed at the changes that’ve been coming since I cleaned up my life,” Haley, who’s upgrading to get his Dogwood and who will then pursue a chosen career, said.
With the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, Nakamura explained Street Humanities targets at-risk and vulnerable adults, providing a two-semester non-credit liberal arts program at CNC. It began in the city as a pilot project in 2005, based on a concept used in New York City.
The presentation points out the program comes from the growing interest of at-risk and vulnerable adults in Prince George who have demonstrated motivation to make their lives better.
Teaching volunteers are provided through the college, UNBC and the community. The NJHS and AWAC each provide a coordinator.
The presentation goes on to say some graduates continue pursuing an education and complete credited programs.
“Meaningful engagement and exposure to education, arts and culture are key ingredients to crime reduction and re-integrating at-risk and vulnerable people back into mainstream society.”
“Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope. It’s critically important to others to see what you’ve done with your life,” Coun. Brian Skakun said, expressing his gratitude to Haley, as did many councillors.
Coun. Frank Everitt expressed his gratitude to the presenters for their dedication to the program.
“You put in place the building blocks for our city to make it an even better lace to live,” he said.
Street Humanities is funded in part through a social grant from the City of Prince George.
Social grants for 2013 were part of Monday’s agenda, and approved later in the evening.