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Mercy Learning Center Gives Bridgeport-Area Women A Chance At A Diploma

Mercy Learning Center In Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Courtesy of Mercy Learning Center Facebook Page
Mercy Learning Center In Bridgeport, Connecticut.

As WSHU marks Women's History Month, we look at an organization that is empowering women in the Bridgeport area — the Mercy Learning Center.

One out of every five women do not have their high school diploma in Bridgeport. The Mercy Learning Center provides low-income and undereducated women with academic programs to get their diplomas.

Jane Ferreira is the CEO of Mercy Learning Center.

"Most of the time as a woman they have low self-esteem if you can say to them you are smart you have an opportunity, and they see them progressively and then getting a step closer to that high school equivalency they’re excited and overwhelmed they’ve accomplished something in their life," Ferriera said.

It varies how long it takes to obtain a diploma. But Ferreira said most of the women who graduate then go on to community college around the Bridgeport area.

"Their stories are a struggle because they’ve really had a tough life, but when you see them graduate from here and go onto community college there’s a self-esteem that happens in their confidence that they are going to change the world," Ferreira said.

With over 56 different countries represented in the 1,000 students registered at the center, students often start at a third grade or lower reading level. The staff at Mercy focuses on every student's ability to push them along to make a significant change in their life.

"Change is good, change is difficult for some people but it does make a significant difference in the whole society, not just their little bubble but its really about the community at large," Ferreira said.

She said that educating these women empowers them to change their whole lives, and that makes a difference in the entire community.