Above: GED classes will be held in East Deutschtown at 810 Tripoli. (Photo by Kelsey Shea).

With the help of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and the Community Alliance of Spring Garden and East Deutschtown, one Northsider is working to provide free GED classes for those without high school diplomas.

Spring Garden resident Ed Payne and the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council are working to establish a free literacy program to help Northsiders and people throughout the City pass the General Education Development test.

“I’ve always felt that people need to be educated just to make the community a better place,” said Payne, who said that there’s a great need for this service in his neighborhood.

Payne said GED classes usually cost a minimum of $60, which he knows people can’t always afford, so he’s providing the classes free of cost.

As he works towards the September 15 start of his classes, Payne accredits some of his success to the communities of Spring Garden and East Deutschtown who stepped up to support his project.

“It’s moving right along,” said Payne. “It’s great to see the community rolling up their sleeves and donating their time.”

The Community Alliance of Spring Garden in East Deutschtown is providing free space in rooms above their community office at 810 Tripoli Street to be used as classrooms.

Payne has received donated office furniture and supplies from local organizations and churches as well.

The Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is also playing a major role in the implementation of the classes by providing free training for tutors that will help students in the literacy program to prepare for the GED test and directing students to Payne’s classes.

Once the students are identified, GPLC will also conduct placement tests in order to sort the students into their appropriate grade levels. The GPLC will also provide Payne with the materials and information that the prospective students will need.

Lori Como, program director at the GPLC, is happy to see Payne making such an effort to better the community.

“The demand for our services is usually greater than what we have to offer,” said Como. “So it’s nice when there are people that are willing to provide space for instruction and to help us in recruiting volunteers that want to be tutors. It’s great to get hear from people who are looking to help others obtain their GED.”

The tutors will begin training through August. Payne hopes to see the literacy program up and running by September 15 of this year.

“The way things have been going so far is just wonderful,” said Payne. “I wake up every morning now like I really have purpose.”

Those interested in enrolling in classes, tutoring or making a donation to the program can contact Ed Payne at 412-518-9429.