Graduation Day

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Now is the season of graduations. I have certainly been to my share of them.

I attended graduation last night and I barely held it together.

I was so proud of one our Covenant House grads but also a little sad that the road she had to take was so fraught with struggle and pain. Here are these kids, awkwardly crossing the stage with heads low, teetering on heels in their finest clothes, taking their diplomas and squeaking off stage terrified and holding their breath.

Each one was holding a piece of paper, and enough anxiety about the future to be palpable to the audience.

All these years of worry, geometry tutoring and tears…she got through it. We got through it.

It took nights strongly encouraging her to get to bed. It took all of the many case managers through the six years we’ve known her to teach her about her own self-worth, and how to build the skills necessary to complete her education and find a job that will help her respect herself.

It took breaking up fights, nail painting, and a ridiculous amount of pool. It took patience—and sometimes some pretty unorthodox approaches on our part—to be the adults in her life unlike any other.

She says that we raised her and a part of me hates that. No kid should be raised in a homeless shelter.

But then again, if you were going to have all of us on your team, maybe that’s a lucky thing.

—Heidi Carson, Program Director at Rights of Passage, CHA’s transitional living program for at-risk youth ages 18–21.

 

We are so proud of the determination and hard work of our young graduates. They’ve worked hard to achieve their goals while juggling jobs and life challenges most adults would find daunting. CHA offers many different education programs, including “Back on Track” and the nationally recognized “Jobs for America’s Youth” programs, as well as classes through Nine Star Education & Employment Services and the Anchorage School District. We also had youth graduate from the Southcentral Foundation’s Men’s Wellness Program and the Feed Me Hope Culinary School. We are excited about what the future holds for these high-achieving young people! 

For more information about how you can help CHA youth pursue their education and job goals, please contact Kim Miller, Director of Education & Employment at  (907) 339-4259 or kmiller@covenanthouseak.org.

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