On a warm Thursday evening in March, people gathered at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. There was an air of excitement and inclusion; the sense that something great had been accomplished. BOSS, Alameda County Probation, many representatives from community organizations and businesses, as well as friends and family came to the beautiful church to recognize and celebrate 58 individuals who were Turning Lives Around.
Vice President of the BOSS Board of Directors, Malaga Smith said, “Graduation day means families, cheering, music, food, and an all-around joyful atmosphere. And pride…there is a lot of pride in accomplishment for the participants, and enormous pride on the part of their families. And pride, too, on the part of BOSS.”
Nearly two years ago (July 2014) BOSS started out on a new path to alleviate poverty and improve the prospects and outcomes of individuals and families within our community. That new endeavor? The Career Training & Employment Center, also known as CTEC. Only a handful of months after the opening of this new program, BOSS had the first Graduation. On that chilly afternoon in March 2015, we gathered to recognize the dedication and hard work of 12 individuals who had turned the corner and were embarking on new lives. Then, in October of 2015, we gathered again to celebrated the achievement of over 30 more individuals who had full-time employment and a new direction in life.
Now, a full year after that first Graduation, we came together once again to celebrate nearly 60 individuals who have gone through tremendous transformation!
“While listening to the CTEC graduates stories,” Marlene Hurd, BOSS Board Member commented, “I was moved to tears hearing how they were empowered with BOSS support. All the CTEC graduates are powerful examples, living Epistles and role models to follow. Graduate and Valedictorian April F. is now a CEO of her own catering company. WOW! Valedictorian Fallon, shared that they are now off of probation. Valedictorian Mustafa is now employed as a Warehouseman. Don R. now works for BOSS as a Peer Mentor. Powerful messages of hope!”
BOSS is so grateful to be partnered with Alameda County Probation. We are so proud of the staff of CTEC who work tirelessly. We are so thankful to the organizations and businesses who see the value in the people we work with. But, mostly, we are so inspired by the graduates who have persevered and achieved! Congratulations to all our CTEC Graduates! You are success!