By Jill Gedeon, AmeriCorps VISTA
Graduation-- the day that we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. After 20 week long sessions meeting one night per week, our parents, teens and children have been given the tools necessary to become strong advocates for their children, neighbors and their fellow citizens of Miami-Dade county to implement change and to inspire others to take on the same path. The graduation took place at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and the institute has graduated 12 parents, 3 children, and 5 teens.
The evening started out with some encouraging words from our CEO & Chair Daniella Levine by congratulating our graduates and in honoring Janet Pereyra the founder of F.O.F (Federation of Families) in collaborating with her in being a part of our PLTI curriculum. The atmosphere during the event was very joyful and nobody in the room could not stop smiling and congratulating one another solidifying the fact that everyone in the room made it here with the support from their fellow classmates, Catalyst Miami, Federation of Families, PLTI and The Children's Trust to make it all a reality. During the ceremony, we also honored Gina Ha, Lizabeth Vejano, Abby Asgaralli from Catalyst and other facilitators who made it possible each and every week in obtaining supplies and/or assist with facilitating the program. Before the graduation procession began, the Youth Move choir performed 3 different songs in 3 different languages: English, Spanish and Haitian Creole to reflect the common languages that are heard in Miami and represents the cultures of the parents, children and teens.
While during the graduation procession I was happy to see all of my young adults transition into knowledgeable Youth Advocate Leaders as they grace the stage with confidence, when receiving their diploma. Even though I myself had the pleasure of being a facilitator for the second half of Soundout weekly program. It was a great feeling to see so much hope, inspiration, and collaboration.
Congratulations to the 5th year and 7th FLTI class of 2012!