Levin, Other Brooklyn Notables Celebrate HOPE Graduates

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

On Wednesday, June 4, The HOPE Program was joined by hundreds of HOPE students, graduates and community members for the Annual Achievement Ceremony.  Joining the event was NYC Council Member Steve Levin as well as Brooklyn Heights notables Elizabeth Bailey, Richard Moore and Carla Shen.

The HOPE Program is a leading workforce development organization located in Downtown Brooklyn.  HOPE was recently recognized by the New York Association for Training and Employment Professionals, Citizens Against Recidivism, and as a 2013 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders award recipient. HOPE empowers New Yorkers living in poverty to achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and advancement.

“The men and women that HOPE serves have faced so many challenges– cycles of poverty, histories of incarceration, substance abuse and homelessness, long gaps in employment. But last night, we turned the focus away from past hardships to celebrate our graduates’ extraordinary achievements. They succeeded in hundreds of hours of training, excelled in internships, secured jobs, and grew in their careers,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of The HOPE Program. “HOPE graduates are strong role models for their families and their entire communities. We couldn’t be more proud. And we couldn’t do this work without the support of our corporate and foundation partners, including the National Grid Foundation which supports computer training, BNY Mellon which supported our graduation event, Bank of America and Robin Hood Foundation.”

HOPE graduates were awarded for completing internships, securing jobs, and reaching job retention milestones of 90 days, one year and three years. Special awards included: HOPE’s Referral Partner Award to JCAP; the National Grid Foundation Award for Advancement in Computer Skills to Kossiwavi Sedro; the Carol Shen Award for Academic Excellence to Roger Duran, presented by Carla Shen; the Valerie Chernow Award for Outstanding Volunteer to Nathaniel Cochrane and Sara Wilkins, presented by Elizabeth Bailey; and the Board of Directors’ Award for Career Advancement to Vivian Spruill and Kate Chorman, presented by Dick Moore.

Spruill, also a featured graduate speaker exclaimed “My future looks bright. I love doing what I do and there’s no where to go but the top. I really appreciate HOPE for everything they helped me achieve and for staying in my corner for the long-term.” Vivian is in recovery from a long history of substance abuse and now holds a full-time job with benefits as a cook at a leading nonprofit.

Longtime HOPE advocate, New York City Council Member Steve Levin presented certificates to students who earned their New York City Food Protection Certificates and other credentials. “The HOPE Program does amazing work and it’s an honor to celebrate this year’s graduates. The skills learned through the HOPE Program last a lifetime and will provide an opportunity for each graduate to reach their full potential,” said Levin.

The HOPE Program provides hundreds of hours of rigorous training in literacy, math, computer skills, workplace communications, stress management, customer service and other skills essential for career success. Classroom instruction is coupled with a minimum of 100 hours of on-the-job training, daily meals, and professional clothing. HOPE students work with dedicated employment specialists to secure jobs that match their skills and interests.  By serving New Yorkers with the deepest personal barriers, HOPE addresses unemployment one individual at a time, transforming lives, families and communities.