To foster the growth and development of school-age youth to enhance learning, produce future leaders and productive citizens.
To provide an out-of-school time educational program that is fun and enjoyable for eligible (at-risk) school-age (preK - 5th grade) students and their parents in which, regardless of their background and abilities, they fully realize their potential for academic achievement, cultural/social enrichment, positive self-esteem and productive citizenship.
Greater Enrichment Program began in 1975 as Gethsemane Enrichment Program in the basement of Reverend George Battle, Jr.'s Gethsemane African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church off Beatties Ford Road. Much has changed during the history of the program. The organization changed its name to Greater Enrichment Program and now operates out of several Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools and Battle is now the Senior Bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church.
"The view outside my office at Gethesemane in 1975 showed a community that was in trouble," said Bishop Battle. "Children were in the streets with no supervision or direction. I felt called and knew I had to do something to help give them a future."
Bishop Battle credits strong executive leadership and community support for the success of the program. In 1975, he solicited the help of church member, Adelaide Hunt, who became the first executive director of GEP. Cathy McIlwain, the program's second director, served for more than 30 years with the program prior to her death in 2010. Bronica Glover, the former assistant director, currently serves in the role. With the help of staff and volunteers, GEP touches the lives of many local school children every year.
"GEP focuses on the whole family, not just the child who is in the program," said Glover. "We know parenting and educating children are big jobs, especially for families with limited income and resources."
"We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
We greet and speak to each other with a warm and responsive tone. We recognize and respect individual differences. We demonstrate positive verbal and written communication with each other.
We invite and encourage community participation and involvement in the program. We will work together as a team, sharing ideas and information relevant to the success and needs of the children. We listen and respond positively to the concerns of our parents.
We honor a code of confidentiality and privacy. We respect and acknowledge each child's self-worth and dignity. We are proactive in responding to our children's nutritional, emotional and physical needs.
We believe children's needs come first. We listen to and respect children's, parents' and the staff's points of view. We celebrate success.
We think before we act. We make decisions based on our core values. We believe in treating people the way we want to be treated.