November 14, 2013

Open Books Open Minds Project Celebrates 100% GED Pass Rate

by Francine Jacobs

As we approach the 6th Anniversary of the creation of the Media Center at the Franklin County Detention Center, we proudly report that over the last two and a half years we have had a 100% pass rate for the nearly fifty children who took the GED exam.

The Open Books Open Minds Fund of the Columbus Bar Foundation created and sustains the Library and Media Center at the Juvenile Detention Facility that includes providing the funds for GED testing fees and resource materials. Our goal is to promote education and love of learning among children confined in the Juvenile Detention Center.

In the six years since the Media Center opened, there has been a dramatic change in attitude among the children in detention. Education has become a badge of honor and reading, an adventure into a better world. The names of donors are posted in the Media Center so the children know there are adults, many of whom are lawyers, who care about them; adults who are supporting them. Each year the children make cards and posters to let us know what the Media Center means to them. Last year at Christmas each child received a book as a gift.

Columbus Bar members and friends have generously supported our work throughout the last six years and that has enabled us to keep the JDC Media Center stocked with paperback books, magazines and educational resources. Two and a half years ago we expanded the mission of Open Books Open Minds to include paying the application fees for children who qualify to take the GED test while they are being held at the Detention Center.

The success of Open Books has exceeded our expectations. However, the program faces a new challenge. The GED program will no longer be conducted by the state of Ohio and has been taken over by a private testing organization. Beginning in 2014, the following changes will occur – the test itself will require more advanced and intense preparation; and the application fee will be increased from $40.00 to $120.00. In order for Open Books to sustain its current level of assistance, we need to increase our fund raising effort to meet the increase in application fees, and to upgrade the academic level of the Media Center with additional books and materials.

Consider making a charitable donation to the Open Books Fund of the Columbus Bar Foundation. In this case small gifts can make a big difference in a child’s life.

Want to help?

If you would like to help support the Media Center at the Juvenile Detention Center, please consider making a donation to the Open Books, Open Minds Fund of the Columbus Bar Foundation. Make checks payable to "Columbus Bar Foundation" and send to 175 S. Third St., Suite 1100, Columbus, OH 43215.