Bakersfield, California 2020-10-16 23:00:00 –
Robinson had a hard time suppressing her emotions when she saw the graduate accepting the certificate of achievement on Friday morning.
It was understandable to Robinson, who played an important role in helping the class overcome more than just a fair share of obstacles.
Obviously, this wasn’t your typical graduation ceremony.
Homelessness, drug addiction, suicidal ideation, mental instability … Many, if not all, of the 14 graduates hidden under bright red hats and gowns have experienced some, if not all, of the above. Robinson was in his fight on the street 30 years ago.
Robinson, now Director of Community Development and Church Engagement at CityServe Network in Kern County, has the opportunity to help others, just as he received support from church members a few years ago.
14 students will be awarded a certificate of achievement after completing a certified 6-week course on basic office skills as part of Project HireUp – Homeless to a Job with co-partners as part of the CityServe Educational Collaborative and Bakersfield College. it was done. The group also received life skills training as part of a wraparound program offered by CityServe.
“If someone came by me and they weren’t there, as a 26-year-old drug addict, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything,” Robinson said. “Someone stayed in the game with me, so we sincerely believe that people need to work with these people, and they go through what’s broken and into the future of hope. And just help me navigate. And man, we’re looking at it. It’s incredible. “
A small open-air ceremony was held at the Fellowship Park on the grounds of the Kern County mission. We commended 10 residents from the mission and 4 residents from the M Street Navigation Center.
This is the culmination of six weeks of research, typically four to five days a week at the CityServe Collaborative Educational Center, where you can attend virtual class lessons via Zoom. The program also paid for new outfits for graduates and provided caps and gowns.
“It’s powerful,” Robinson said in tears. “This is a powerful change. And this is what we are looking for. We are not chasing Band-Aid, man. We are people coming out of this place and living with purpose. I want to be able to send. “
Whitney Shaw from Texas was one of the graduates who benefited from this program. A 26-year-old resident of the mission’s women’s and children’s facility, Shaw moved to Bakersfield four years ago at the worst of his life.
“I had suicidal ideation,” Shaw said. “I had a lot of unfavorable experiences, and it hurt me as an adult. I was looking for love to be filled in all the wrong places, and it just ended really badly.”
The homeless, hungry, drug addiction show found himself sleeping outside whenever and wherever he could find a haven for nearly two years.
“It was literally the scariest time of my life,” said Shaw, who suffered from neurasthenia and was only £ 89 when she was imprisoned shortly thereafter. “I was sleeping on the sidewalk. There were days when I was scared and couldn’t sleep. I was starving. When I went to jail, I think God saved me.”
After being released on probation from Kern County Prison in 2018, Shaw temporarily turned things around, but her drug addiction recurred and at the same time she became pregnant with her now 18-month-old son Hastin. did.
With no other place to turn, the show went on a mission, where she received the coveted guidance and support. With accommodation and dining issues gone, the show refocused on the certification program. This hopes she will lead to her first paid job. She has already been interviewed and is waiting for a call back.
“I was just overjoyed,” Shaw said he received the certificate. “I was like,’Wow, I actually did something.’ This can be done. With diligence and dedication, my life is endless. I’m moving forward. So it seemed like one of the best moments of my life. I think this is the best opportunity I have ever experienced. To people with a lot of love and a lot of support They were surrounded. They were very harmonious, very encouraging and encouraging, and I wouldn’t have it the other way around. “
Alumni Stephen Lambert, 56, reflected the show’s emotions. He said his experience on the street caused trauma and put him in a moment of considerable depression.
“I’ve just decided to go back to school and I know what’s going on here, so I’m going to make a difference,” Lambert said. “The HireUp program gave me the feeling that it doesn’t matter how low you are, no matter how bad you are. If you really believe and visualize.”