Weekend concert to raise money for GED testing for homeless youth

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On Sunday Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ will host its annual Jam for Bread concert, which will benefit Volunteers of America’s Crosswalk. All proceeds will go toward GED testing costs.
On Sunday Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ will host its annual Jam for Bread concert, which will benefit Volunteers of America’s Crosswalk. All proceeds will go toward GED testing costs.

The GED price tag doubled this year.

Getting a state I.D., which is required to take the test, has increased by $25. And getting a birth certificate to get that I.D. is another $20.

Potential grand total to take the GED exam: $215.

For Spokane’s homeless youth that expense can be a barrier to a better future, explained Bridget Cannon, director of youth services for Volunteers of America.

“When you’re dealing with homeless teens, they definitely don’t have those financial resources. There’s not a parent willing to pay for it,” she said.

On Sunday Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ will host its annual Jam for Bread concert, which will benefit Volunteers of America’s Crosswalk. All proceeds will go toward GED testing costs.

Crosswalk is an emergency shelter and a school-drop out prevention program that focuses on breaking the cycle of youth homelessness in Spokane. Annually it serves more than 1,000 area youth. Last year Crosswalk was able to assist 17 teenagers and young adults earn their high school diplomas or GEDs.

“What allows us to help are things like Jam for Bread, which raises money for these costs that have occurred and will help these kids succeed,” Cannon said.

This will the ninth year Westminster has hosted Jam for Bread and the third year its proceeds will go toward Crosswalk.

Tickets for the concert are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and $25 for families. Gift baskets will also be raffled for $1. Tickets will be available at the door.

“I think when the money goes toward something like GED funding, it really gives people something to invest in. It’s not just going to a black hole,” said Jam for Bread Chair Barb Borgens.

Cannon said getting a high school diploma or GED is crucial in helping Spokane’s at-risk youth. It’s a step, she said, toward preventing unemployment, incarceration, and opens doors to higher education.

The concert, which begins at 3 p.m., will feature Ashé West African Drum and Dance, Michael and Keleren Millham of Sidhe, the Extension Chord Jazz Duo, Spokane Area Youth Choirs and Cellists of the Spokane Symphony.

For information call (509) 624-1366.

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About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Journalism Instructor at Washington State University.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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