Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
– Nelson Mandela

For many of our students within the AIOIC Takoda Institute ABE/GED Program, the primary obstacle that stood between them and their return to the classroom was fear. Fear that they have been removed from a classroom for to long. Fear that once they began their studies, they would quickly realize that they are not smart enough to finish. Fear that even after obtaining their GED, their education would not really serve them. The reality is that absolutely none of these things ever materialize or become true. They are nothing more than the passing ghosts of wild speculation – a raw panic that unsubstantiated fear always tends to generate. Fortunately, our staff working in the ABE/GED program has encountered these situations many times in the past, and is well versed in supporting new enrollees towards overcoming such distress.

Through the dedicated efforts employed at the AIOIC’s Takoda Institute ABE/GED Program, we successfully are able to provide a smooth transition for all new students – especially those who are returning back to the classroom after an extended absence. Part of the measures we utilize includes a progressive engagement of the student with their studies matched to their unique skill sets and academic levels; a generous scheduling model that allows each student to set their own schedule that best fits for them, and we provide a combination of collective class activities and individual tutorials to assist students in achieving their GED. When taken together, the Takoda Institute ABE/GED program has established itself as a unique and effective avenue that has empowered hundreds to earn the secondary education credential.

While it is understood that above all else, a person must possess – at a minimum – a High School diploma or a GED if they are to have a hope of securing a meaningful job, we must remember that education serves other purposes as well. There is more beyond employment to which a person’s ongoing academic development provides for. By furthering their education and personal knowledge base, a person who has elected to return to the role of student is enhancing their overall value to their families as well as to their communities – both of which are in need of the ongoing input and leadership from this student. This has never been truer than in today’s environment . . .

The world – whether we care to admit it or not – now exists in a perpetual state of acceleration – pushing everyone in it further and further, faster and faster. The evidence of this ever increasing current is all around us – from technological advancement to the immediacy of the impact that information now has on our lives.

Within six hours of the verdict, organized protests and vigils blossomed throughout the country in reaction to the lives of George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin. Social Media exploded over the controversial cover of a Rolling Stone Magazine depicting the face of the surviving Boston Marathon terror suspect. Last summer, authorities in Western Wisconsin unfortunately had to call off an Amber Alert that was sent out via mobile phone networks and local television stations – due their sad discovery in the trunk of an automobile late one evening. Meanwhile, something called “ISIS” is currently storming across the deserts of Iraq and placing jeopardy young American soldiers stationed there – with more now on the way . . .

This is merely a sample of the punishing amount of information that is surging towards us right now, like rising flood waters that continue to grow each and every day.

Are you able and ready for this onslaught? Do you believe that you have the mental capabilities to navigate through this ever-challenging world of ours?

What do you think about separating the notion of killing from that of murder, and what do you believe are the limits of self-defense in this nation?

What do you think about the repercussions of putting an admitted domestic terrorist on the cover of a major publication? Do you think this is disrespectful to the victims?

What do you know about foreign policy? Are their members in your family currently serving in the armed forces? Could they now be in harm’s way as a result of “ISIS”?

Are your children safe? How do you know?

What do you think? How will you act or react? Have you considered all of the implications offered by this world and how it can impact your life? Will you be able to contend with these challenges on behalf of not only yourself, but on behalf of your family and community as well?

It precisely for these secondary reasons – reasons so often overlooked – that make the pursuit of one’s education so incredibly valuable. Yes, the credential is important, as is the need to procure gainful employment. However, so is the impact that the individual can have upon their families and community as a whole if they are equipped to handle the deluge of information that has been slowly building in depth around them.

By pursuing their education, the student has elected to take a new path of evaluating information, thinking about it deeply, and then creating their own opinions and actions drawn from what they have come to learn thus far. Such critical thinking skills and discernment of mind are the most powerful tools for any human to possess. Yet without them, it becomes ever so easy to find oneself merely swept away with the current.

It is for all of these reasons that we encourage all people to get engaged within our educational programs – not only as a means of remedying their financial status, but to empower each to contribute to the intellectual health of their families and their communities. As such, we call on everyone to join us in this journey . . .