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The WOO Thanks You

Susan Notes: When everybody gives a little, it means a lot to people doing the hard work at the World of Opportunity. Please remember that the need is ongoing. Students are still being shut out of public education in Birmingham.

Dear Friends:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!......for your responses to Susan Ohanian's appeal to contribute funds which would be used to help sustain two resistance projects:

(1) 50 % went to Substance newspaper which helps to shine a light on the resistance to standards and testing in Chicago and elsewhere; and 50 % went to

(2) World of Opportunity (WOO), a civil rights and social justice educational and job readiness program in Birmingham, Alabama, which has opened its doors and heart to thousands of young people who have been pushed out of the public schools under the frenzied pressure of the No Child Left Behind act.

Today, at WOO, we received a letter from Susan Ohanian with a hearty check made payable to the WOO. These funds will help more young people continue their education.

I used to send regular updates to these lists about WOO student progress, but the progress has been so intense, and the inequities and adversities so trying, that it is hard to find the time.

Briefly......more than 2,200 students have walked through our doors and signed up since we opened in September, 2000. We are working with about 60 students per day.

More than 51 students have earned a GED.

32 students enrolled in college. 2 are presently attending UAB Honors Program.

30 students have become Certified Nurse Aides (CNA).

More than 350 students have obtained employment from the skills they acquired at WOO.

Hundreds of students have engaged in community service.
WOO students scrambled up pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and a couple of dollar bills to donate $74.00 (+ $40.00 from a WOO friend) to the tsunami relief fund in South Asia.
The students of the WOO are among the most generous people I have ever had the honor of working with and knowing.

Peacebuilding and conflict resolution are thriving themes among our students. Tough words have been hurled but not one fist, nor not one single physical altercation.

17 WOO students and staff just returned from the Edmond-Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 45th year since Bloody Sunday and the voters rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

WOO students are writing poetry, rap, and smiling more about their education than they used to.

Well....I could go on and on....and that is not what I meant to do.

In behalf of our students and staff I wanted to thank you for your support of a program which works WITH young human beings, not test scores, and for all that you pitched in to help WOO students continue their education.

Warmest peacebuilding greetings to one and all,

Steve Orel
World of Opportunity (WOO)
7429 Georgia Road
Birmingham, AL 35212-2921

— Steve Orel
World of Opportunity


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