Nfld. & Labrador

This centre helps people complete their high school education. Now, it needs help too

The Murphy Centre has been operating in St. John's for more than 30 years, and now is asking for the public's help to cope with the pandemic.

Murphy Centre launches first fundraising campaign in 30-year history

Derrick Moore is the development coordinator at the Murphy Centre in St. John's. (Murphy Centre/YouTube)

A non-profit education centre in St. John's has launched the first fundraising campaign in its history to help its students weather the ongoing pandemic.

The Murphy Centre has been helping people from all walks of life finish their high school diplomas, attain their adult basic education and get career training for more than 30 years. But those programs, and the way people participate in them, have taken a hit since COVID-19 arrived in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"COVID came along and pointed out some very real needs. That's immediate, and we're working our way through that," Derrick Moore, the centre's development coordinator, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show on Thursday.

"On the other hand, we have to look to the future. And while we perhaps have designated money for designated programming, what is coming down the pipe, we're not quite sure."

The fundraising campaign, called Inspiring Lives, does not have a set goal.

Moore said in part, the funds will be used to help support current programs and implement new ones, with an eye to the future.

"We're told that there's going to be thousands and thousands of jobs in the tech sector," he said.

"So we would like to investigate ways that we could better prepare young adults to access that particular sector."

Connectivity needs

Besides programming, Moore said, funds could also be used to address issues around students' ability to connect to the internet, an area that centre staff outlined as a potential problem in the past few months.

"What we did find is that on a practical level, a lot of our folks were having real challenges around mobile devices and connectivity, or lack thereof," he said.

"That just set off alarm bells for us, and the timing was really good because at that time Fortis, for example, made significant contributions, and we were fortunate to be one."

Fortis, the St. John's-based utility giant, donated $20,000 to the centre in May. 

"We were able to take that money, and other money that we were fortunate enough to raise as well, and put it toward the provision of mobile devices, and where necessary, connectivity," he said.

The fundraiser, which began Wednesday, runs until Dec. 11.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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