Tag Archives: Jane Ferreira

Unsung Hero #280

Jane Ferreira is not a Westporter.

She does not serve — directly, anyway — Westport residents.

But when she steps down next month as president and CEO of Mercy Learning Center, Ferreira’s impact on our town will have been profound.

Jane Ferreira, at Mercy Learning Center.

In her 21 years of service to MLC, she transformed the lives of tens of thousands of people. The Bridgeport non-profit offers literacy and life skills training for women with low incomes

Coming from 40 different countries, they study English, math, science, health, civics, computers, and employment and life skills.

They are supported by an early childhood education program; social services including case management, mental health counseling, health and financial screenings; job and counseling advice, and enrichment opportunities.

Mercy Learning Center clients earn high school equivalency diplomas; learn job skills, and get help finding work; receive assistance applying for college, job training programs and scholarships, and prepare for US citizenship exams.

The Bridgeport building buzzes with activity. The women who study, learn and are supported there are hard-working, committed, and driven to succeed.

In a county filled with organizations doing great work, MLC stands at the top of any list.

But Ferreira’s impact extends far beyond the countless people she has helped.

Jane Ferreira

Mercy Learning Center’s success is due in part to a large corps of volunteers. Men and women teach classes, offer expertise, act as role models, provide friendships, and donate generously too.

Ferreira’s work has affected them too. They have gotten a close look, and gained important insights, about a world just a few minutes away from Westport. Their horizons have been broadened, and their own lives enriched, through the center that Ferreira has dedicated more than 2 decades of her life to.

In an email announcing her retirement, she wrote:

It has been an honor and privilege to serve the women and children of Mercy Learning Center. I treasure the relationships that I have made with so many beautiful, gifted, and unique women and their families.

It has been a tremendous experience working with so many generous donors and dedicated volunteers over the years.  Your dedication and support have been incredible and most appreciated. You have made MLC a remarkable place.

I leave with great confidence knowing that Mercy Learning Center is structurally sound, programmatically and financially, to move forward with a new leader.  Please know that I will carry the mission of Mercy Learning Center forever in my heart, to “Educate a woman… Educate a family!”  I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this critical mission and to have worked with you.

Thank you, Jane Ferreira, for your service to Mercy Learning Center. You have made Bridgeport — and Westport — better places, by far.

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Send nominations to 06880blog@gmail.com.)