On Wednesday, May 25th, 2022, Alliance for Community Empowerment held their Annual Meeting at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, their neighbor on Park Ave in Bridgeport. The event traditionally celebrates the successes of Alliance, their community partners, and provides scholarships to recent high school graduates that are moving on to higher education. The same is true for this year except with one extra special honoree.
It’s no secret that Dr. Monette Ferguson, Alliance’s Executive Director, is not just a person who works at Alliance, but a shining example of a child that was enrolled in Alliance’s Early Learning Program (at the time called ABCD.) However, it is less known that one of her teachers from back then is still heavily involved with Alliance.
“Today is a very special day, and today we celebrate someone who is part of the fabric of this organization,” said Dr. Ferguson. “When I think about what Alliance means, I think about this person immediately. When people ask who do we want train new staff, to talk about Early Learning, or provide a tour of an exemplary site, we send them to see this person.”
That person is Mrs. Alterine Green-Johnson, or affectionately known as ‘Mama J’, and she started working as an assistant teacher for Alliance in 1975.
Since then, Mama J has worked her way up the ranks in the Early Learning Program, having been promoted from Assistance Teacher to Teacher, then Lead Teacher/Head Teacher, and is currently a Site Manager at the Stratford South End Community Center. Earlier this year, it was announced by the City of Stratford that Alliance would no longer be able to operate their program out of this location, so the organization started looking for a new space for their students and staff to teach out of. The announcement of this new site was to be made at this Annual Meeting, unbeknownst to most, especially Mama J.
Dr. Ferguson asked Mama J’s family to come up front and unroll a new banner while she announced that the new Stratford Early Learning site will be named after Mrs. Alterine Green-Johnson in dedication to her nearly half a century of caring and educating the children in our communities and getting them ready for K-12 schooling.
After all these years Mama J is still about the business of giving of herself and making a positive and lasting impression on everyone she encounters. Mrs. Johnson rolls out the welcome mat for every person. At her current site she is referred to as the “sister of love” and she has no problem spreading love wherever she goes. This is evident even in her monthly parent meetings as she passionately ends each one with her famous quote “live life to the fullest, laugh and smile every day, and love beyond words!”
The Alterine Johnson Early Learning Center will be located at 909 Main Street in Stratford, CT, just two blocks away from the previous site, and will be ready for the start of the 2022 Fall school year.
Mrs. Johnson firmly believes that every child should be nurtured and loved with respect because in her words, “You never know when you are shaping and molding the mind of the next president, doctor, lawyer, scientist, CEO, or director of the company you may one day be employed by,” said Mama J.