America’s Promise comes to Selma

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 20, 2002

A promise was renewed Tuesday at the Performing Arts Center: America’s Promise.

America’s Promise and its subsidiary group, Selma’s Promise, is an organization committed to making youth a priority, according to Councilwoman Nancy G. Sewell. It was created in 1997 by Secretary of State Colin Powell and has since spread to 550 community organizations across the nation.

The group asks individuals and organizations to sign a pledge to aid the nation’s youth with their time and resources.

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Edward Johnston, county extension agent, stood before a small crowd of Americorps and Youth in Government members along with several local students and explained the group’s goals point by point.

Amos Moore, program director for Americorps in Selma, agreed.

Americorps, a volunteer organization created in 1993, has partnered itself with Selma’s Promise in an effort to bridge the digital divide, he explained.

This is being accomplished through a $1.3 million grant over a three year period that the city received in order for Americorps to bring computer literacy training and mentoring to those in need, Moore stated.

The partnership between Selma’s Promise and Americorps enables free computer classes to be available to everyone, said Moore. These classes occur at public housing facilities along with classes in the Selma city school system for parents, teachers and staff.

Councilwoman Jean Martin also made an appeal to those present. She related a story about how some of the children at Byrd School needed help reading. She said even one hour a week reading to these children could make them feel loved.

The idea for Selma’s Promise had it’s beginnings three years ago when Sewell and Martin went to Washington and heard Powell at a speaking engagement, according to Sewell. Afterwards, they both spoke with Powell and upon returning to Selma he sent them a wealth of information about America’s Promise.