“Do I Still Dare to Dream?”

I woke up this morning with several messages waiting for me. The one that most affected me was from a Refugee student who asked me, “Do I still dare to Dream?”  In that single sentence, my heart broke. It lay like pieces on the floor amid the hopes of so many refugees.  

I choked.  What could I say?  Then another message came in, “Why so many people like him?”.  “I don’t know”, I had to say. “Why is that people like people who hate others?” I don’t know the answer to that either.

Then another message from a Refugee student, a graduate of our program, now at a local college.  “Help me go to law school”, she said, “I know it will be hard but I want to make a difference.”

I did not feel like teaching this morning, but knowing that students would be anxious and apprehensive, I had to teach. I had to listen to the concerns and fears from students that have made my life more meaningful.  In their pain, suffering, strength and fortitude, I see a better America.  I see an America in which we all can still dream and no one can stop that.

Dr. Harden

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They Keep Knocking it Out!

Each week I am constantly amazed by our students.  Today’s ‘shout out’ goes to our Writing Partnership High School Completion Students.  They continue to make incredible gains despite having to work and for many raise a family.  Here are last Saturday’s successes:

  • One student passed math three exam with an 85!
  • One student passed first exam in Introduction to Literature and Short Story!
  • One student passed Reading Skills exam with an 85%!
  • One student passed Consumer Math exam with an 80%!
  • One student passed Part 1, 2, 3  in her Human Relations course
  • One student passed Part 1 of Human Relations course
  • One new student studied for his first examination.

We were joined this week by a Siena student, Saba, who will serve as mentor for a new student.  Serving as a mentor is a great way for Siena and Maria College students to be involved in the life of Refugees and to make this program such a transformative experience.

Three Maria College students also joined this week.  They were here to give us a hand with our unit on reading with comprehension.  Mu Blae, Chayenne and Dom were amazing. They would like to start their a sister program at Maria College.  We look forward to helping this get off the ground.  Welcome, Welcome!

You Guessed it!

​Our curriculum last Thursday night was about….well you guessed it…the election!  After a brief over of the electoral process in the United States our students worked together on what it would be like to be the President of the United States.  Our questions included, “What would you do if you were President?”.  The question may seem pretty basic but not for our refugee students.  To imagine that you are the most powerful person on the planet, is a leap when you have spend most of your life in a camp of 30,000 people who have no rights, no liberties and no vote. 

When you are a refugee, you have no control over your life.  So you might expect that when presented with the possibility that you might become the most powerful person on the planet, you might find answers like a new car or a big house or simply enough food.   Instead our students talked of peace, an end to violence and food for everyone. 

That is the kind of students that we work with at the Writing Partnership.  Students who have come through trauma and tragedy of the worst kind, yet see the goodness that the future can hold.  

I am hoping that everyone who reads this will be moved.  It is my personal mission and the mission of Writing Partnership to provide that bright future for our students. It is a win-win situation.  Our refugee students move into a amazing world of possibilities and our Siena College and Maria College students develop the leadership ability to assist in that transformation.  

Please take a look at our website, http://www.writingpartnership.org.

God Bless,

Dr. Harden

A Frightful Experience

We are all a little frightened around Halloween.  It is natural and this year was especially frightening for thirty 30 refugee students who we took to the Great Escape Fright Fest on October 30th.

With a donation of tickets from our Writing Partnership Donor Angel, thirty students were give the chance to be frightened and have fun at the same time.

What joy the day brought.  Rides combined with Zombies and the Undead all provided for a great day.  Pictures are the best way to describe such a lovely ghoulish event. 

Again many thanks to our Angel Donor who made all this frightening fun possible.

Check out the pictures below…

I don’t mean to brag but….

Friends —

I don’t mean to keep bragging but I need you to know how well the students in the High School Completion Program are doing.  

We always begin with our successes.  Here are this week’s successes:

  • One student retook her math test and scored 10 points higher!
  • One student passed her reading course
  • One student passed her Human Relations Exam
  • One student scored 89 on learning orientation examination
  • One student scored 85, 90 and 95 on Math 2 exams
  • One student scored 95, 90 and 85 on Reading exams
  • One student scored 85 on her Math 2 examination
  • One student scored 90 on her Math 2 examination

Quite impressive for one week’s work.

The second half of our class was devoted to reading comprehension.  We asked some really difficult questions.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? — The five most important questions that students need to ask.

I can’t wait to see what our students have accomplished this coming week!

All my best,

Dr. Harden

So Many Blessings!

Friends –

I am not sure where to start.  We have been given so many blessings lately!

We are thrilled to announce that we have launched our Writing Partnership High School Completion Program!  Eight of the fifteen cohort members have begun their journey toward completing their high school diploma.  Our program is a hybrid program that allows over 21 year old students and students who have dropped out of high school due to family concerns to finish their high school education.  Part of their study will be completed online and part will be completed in person with their classmates.  Each student is assigned a mentor who is a successful student at Siena College.  I will brag about the students’ accomplishments later in another blog post.  They have accomplished exceptional things in only two weeks!

I will sign off for now and will post again tomorrow. Below is a picture of the very first meeting!

All my best,

Dr. John

Dr. John