Congrats to YouthLink’s Graduating Class of 2012!By YouthLink | May 31st, 2012 | Category: Uncategorized | No Comments »
“I struggled all through high school and felt like I wasn’t going to accomplish anything. Getting my GED and being able to walk is a blessing for me. It feels good!” – Jewel, YouthLink client
Every year in June, YouthLink hosts a graduation ceremony for homeless young people who achieved an educational milestone in the past year. Whether these young people earned their GED, graduated from high school, transitioned into secondary education or completed a certification program, they have opened new doors of opportunity for themselves and we are thrilled to mark their success.
This year’s ceremony will be held on June 13th at the Youth Opportunity Center and includes a student speaker, scholarship award, and keynote speaker. An open house for family and friends will follow. This ceremony is an exciting tradition for youth who are served by YouthLink throughout the year.
Paul Ramsour, YouthLink staff member and head of the graduation committee, expects over 40 youth to walk in the ceremony. Why put so much effort into pomp and circumstance? Youth experiencing homelessness face so many barriers, Paul says, but “This is a right of passage. With these youth they get somewhere and lose, get somewhere and lose, but this is a milestone you can’t take away.”
For Jewel, a YouthLink client, this graduation ceremony means more than just a walk across a stage. After her mom evicted her at age 17, staying in high school was difficult. She bounced from place to place, never knowing if she would have a safe place to stay the night much less how she would get to school the next morning.
With help from YouthLink, she secured supportive housing at Archdale Apartments and received GED tutoring and test prep at the YOC. She passed her GED tests with flying colors this Spring and is looking forward to walking at graduation in June.
“This is a huge step for me.” She pauses, “I struggled all through high school and felt like I wasn’t going to accomplish anything. Getting my GED and being able to walk is a blessing for me. It feels good! I really achieved a big step.” Jewel’s dreams now extend to secondary education, celebrating her recent acceptance to a local cosmetology school.
Paul reflects on why having the opportunity to participate in a graduation ceremony is so important for our youth. “Even if they had a tough day yesterday, and they’ll have a tough day tomorrow, today we can celebrate what they’ve achieved. Even if we only had one youth participate, we’d do it.”
For more information on YouthLink’s graduation ceremony and the YOC, check out our press release.