BY STEPHANIE SALVADERO, Staff Writer

Local non-profit Mercy Education Project (MEP) is opening its doors for a free spring tour from 9-10 a.m. on April 19.

Founded in Detroit by the Sisters of Mercy Ministry in 1992, Mercy Education Project provides free educational programs to girls and women living in inner-city Detroit who have limited access to resources.

As showcased on their website, in providing “a caring, supportive learning environment for low-income women and girls…our results-driven educational programs improve academic outcomes and help girls and women become strong, confident, more hopeful and better equipped for success in school and in life.”

The girls and women are able to engage in after-school tutoring, summer enrichment programs, GED preparation, selected career and workforce development services, as well as receive other life skills support. These programs are designed to foster increased self-esteem, self-sufficiency, and the development of service and leadership qualities.

“In Detroit, only one-quarter to one-half of high school students graduate, and nearly half of the adult population is considered functionally illiterate,” highlights MEP.

By serving girls and women in inner city Detroit and providing them with valuable resources to ensure their educational and professional success, MEP is working to build a stronger community while decreasing illiteracy in Detroit.

Two informational tours are held every month, and all interested community members are welcomed to visit the facilities and learn more about the great work of this organization.

Students from Kappa Omega Chi sorority are looking forward to carpooling from campus and visiting MEP, their local philanthropy, on April 19.

“Our sorority has been striving to raise awareness, increase visibility, and do fundraising for MEP since we were founded in 2002,” explained Brannigan Powell, Vice President for Kappa Omega Chi.

As a local sorority, MEP was chosen because it is a Detroit-based organization with whom the Kappa ladies could develop a meaningful connection and work to support their programs through volunteerism and direct donations made possible through fundraising efforts.

The Kappa ladies’ involvement with their local philanthropy has steadily grown over the years as they endeavor to strengthen community support for MEP.

With alumni Magaly Urista currently working with the Women’s Program at Mercy Education Project, the sorority maintains a vital living link with the non-profit and remains up-to-date on all new developments and events.

Furthermore, Kappa Omega Chi is proud to be developing and offering opportunities to the teenage girls at MEP to come visit UM-Dearborn and learn more about college opportunities, programs, resources, and student life.

Having recently teamed up with students from Blueprints Leadership Program 2011-2012 to volunteer at Pancakes for the Planet on April 21, the Kappa ladies and Blueprints students will be welcoming teenagers from MEP and pairing up with them to help serve hot pancakes.

This is the first of many projects coming to fruition to not only support the girls and women of MEP, but to also ensure the organization’s visibility and connection to the community.

If interested in working with Kappa Omega Chi on these projects and learning more about Mercy Education Project by taking their spring tour on April 19, please contact the Kappa Omega Chi Vice President, Brannigan Powell at bkpowell@umd.umich.edu.