In a year full of uncertainty for the entire education arena, members of JEVS Human Services’ E3 Program were able to achieve their high school diplomas and be on their way to pursuing their life dreams.
During the pandemic, many E3 members were unable to leave their homes, so the program pivoted and provided laptops and internet hotspots for those in need, and staff did their best to keep students engaged.
“They pushed me even when I slacked,” said E3 member Felicity Reagan. “I found people that care about my future, too, and see my potential. They were working with me knowing I was pregnant and were really helpful. It wasn’t just about a GED, it was what do you want to do next. They helped with resources, too.” (Read more about Felicity here).
Also graduating was E3 member Craig Stone, who highly recommended the program. “If you have the right mindset and you are serious about getting your diploma, go to E3 — they have so many different resources to help you,” he said. “It was the one-on-one connection with the staff and teachers that definitely helped me. I got my high school diploma and E3 made it possible.” (Read more about Craig here).
The E3 program, for out-of-school youth aged 16-24, provides education, employment, empowerment and life skills training to help youth re-engage academically and develop skills needed to be successful in the global economy.
“Today we are marking the legacy of our graduating class of 2021,” said E3 Program Director Latoyra Smith. “I am honored to celebrate the resilience of these graduates.”
Though the graduation ceremony included special video messages from Jay Spector, President and CEO of JEVS Human Services, and Chekkema Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network, the stage was dominated by the graduates themselves.
E3 member Kayla White (pictured) introduced student speakers who addressed the three E’s represented in the programs name: Chiara Amico discussed Education, Felicity Reagan spoke about Employment, and Malik Chambers discussed Empowerment.
Inspiration Awards were presented to one E3 student and one E3 staff member. “Nailah Weems is a young lady with a strong will and determination to change the world,” said Smith. “While working full time she was able to enroll in E3, complete her assignments and obtain her high school diploma.” Staff member Alberta Lloyd was unable to attend the event so E3 Advisor John Thomas accepted on her behalf.
The keynote speaker was Yolanda Whidbee, founder of Defining You Image Management Services, who led graduates in a “pledge of allegiance for success,” and encouraged them to remember to help others succeed the way they are succeeding today.
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