DeNeuville and its services to girls and women

I had the recent pleasure of visiting DeNeuville Learning Center (DLC) in Memphis, Tennessee, and meeting with its Executive Director Lori Bramlett. Lori and her staff provide an amazing range of services to girls and women who are on the margin of our society. They operate the high quality center and its top notch programs with no local, state, or federal governmental funding.

DeNeuville has an impressive array of offerings

The Center provides high school equivalency classes in English and Spanish to approximately 75 students each year. Lori showed me the volume of materials that the students are required to master in order to pass the test. Academic subjects include math, English grammar, social studies and an array of other disciplines.

Lori pointed out to me, that many high school seniors would have a difficult time mastering the required material. In addition, the DeNeuville Learning Center offers classes in English for those who are from a different culture and need to learn English as a second language.

The only cost to the participant is a $20 enrollment fee. DeNeuville Learning Center served more than 300 clients last year.

During my visit, I observed a Spanish-speaking woman accompanied by her little girl signing up for the classes. The woman had such a look of joy about her. Perhaps she knew she would soon be better able to help her daughter with her school work, would communicate better with her teachers, and if her daughter became sick, would be able to reach out for medical help.

DeNeuville Learning Center offers child care services to any client who needs it.

DeNeuville Learning Center also provides computer training and job readiness classes. And DLC offers free child care for all of its clients so they can focus on studies while still being available to their children.

DeNeuville Learning Center makes for a better world

I spend much of my time as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. with Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center. I try to get politicians to do the right thing for people who live in poverty and on the margin of society.  Pope Francis reminds us that politics “is one of the highest forms of love, because it is in the service of the common good.”

Sadly, politicians focus much of their time on winning the next election instead of serving people in their districts. Their focus on elections involves raising huge amounts of money for campaigns and pleasing the “right” people.

Taking breaks from the D.C. area to visit Good Shepherd programs is cathartic. The visits are a real reminder to me that the good work begun by St. Mary Euphrasia in the 19th century in France continues to bear fruit in 21st century America.

Although DeNeuville Learning Center may not make splashy headline news, its programs, and other local nonprofit programs like DLC, are what keep our society together and make for a better world.

Larry Couch

Larry Couch

Larry Couch is the Director of the National Advocacy Center (NAC) for Sisters of the Good Shepherd. NAC is a lobbying ministry that addresses social justice issues and advocates for the transformation of society to benefit all people. NAC works in solidarity with the disenfranchised and reflects the spirituality and mission of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.