June 29, 2017. Our program featured a trio of speakers from ProJeCt, a multi-faith based organization designed to coordinate and provide services to an under-served poor population in Easton. Development Manager Alison O’Connell explained how the organization helps over 6,000 people each year through education, emergency services, and a food pantry. Their funding comes from a variety of sources including federal and state funds, grants, corporate and individual donations, and the United Way.
There are a variety of volunteer opportunities. People are needed at the food pantry to staff the store, pick up donations, and to help people shop. The administrative office needs people to greet customers and answer phones. A new addition is a team of ProJeCt Ambassadors trained to represent the organization in the community. Help is also needed to plan events such as their Simply Savory fundraiser. People can also use their expertise to mentor adult literacy students and help them develop real-life skills that will enable the students to achieve their goals.
Education Services Manager Antoinette Cavalieri told us about the programs offered including GED, Adult Basic Education, ESL, Citizenship, Literacy, and Parenting. The Summer SIZZLE reading program serves children from kindergarten through fourth grade. The program aims to stop the annual literacy back-slide common to at-risk children. 86% of last year’s participants maintained or improved their reading skills over the summer. This year’s program is funded in part by an Easton Rotary grant and features 160 students which is 30 more than last year. The Student Success Academy features goal-oriented adult education with case management support.
The third speaker was Andrea who told us about her experience as a student at ProJeCt. She spoke no English when she arrived from Ecuador. English as a Second Language classes were hard. She discovered ProJeCt upon moving to Easton and it was there that she found the support that she needed. She earned her GED and became a citizen. She did so well that ProJeCt hired her as a secretary. Her language skills are particularly useful in dealing with Latino clients. She is now furthering her education at NCC. She loves ProJeCt because it provides the help that people really need.