Each year, Friends of Boston’s Homeless and the programs we support help more than 400 formerly homeless men and women move beyond homelessness to lead independent lives in our community. Every June, we celebrate the individuals who have graduated these programs and are on their way to independence. Let us introduce you to just a few our recent grads:
- Sharon was 43 years old when she came to Long Island Shelter after fleeing a violent relationship. She immediately met with a Case Manager and started work in the Work Experience Program. She also enrolled in Project Lighthouse Adult Education Program, obtained her GED, and began attending school for her Medical Assistant degree. She moved into Project SOAR where she resided until this spring when she moved into her own apartment in East Boston and began working as a paramedic.
- At 24 Kendra came to Long Island Shelter in need of help. She dropped out of school in 10th grade and drifted from low-paying job to low-paying job. She quickly enrolled in Serving Ourselves Job Training Program and began attending classes with Project Lighthouse Adult Education Program in the hope of obtaining her GED and continuing to college to become a registered nurse. She was initially intimidated by the amount of work needed to get her GED. However, as she continued to work hard, she began to see success in her studies. Kendra eventually obtained her GED and recently earned her Certified Nurse’s Aide certificate from the Red Cross. She now works as a CNA and attends Bunker Hill Community College for Nursing.
- William came to us at 40 with a history of homelessness, substance abuse, a recent incarceration and a strong desire to break the cycle. He enrolled in Project Lighthouse where the teachers discovered and helped him overcome an undiagnosed learning disability. He began work on his GED right away. He also enrolled in the maintenance component of Serving Ourselves Job Training Program. Upon graduation, he applied and was accepted to the Construction Management Program at Wentworth Institute of Technology to obtain his Contractor’s License. William is now working for the City of Boston.
- Jake dreamed of being a famous musician and joined a successful band. But the nights of drinking became a habit and quickly addiction. He was finally kicked out of the band, lost his job, and became homeless. He came to Woods Mullen Shelter where he failed many sobriety programs but just kept trying. Persistence paid off and he joined the Serving Ourselves Job Training Program and moved into our One Wise Street Men’s Housing Program. He maintained his sobriety, got his B.A. from UMASS, obtained is Masters in Education and is working as a clinician at a social services agency. He also got back into his music and is serving on the board of Right Turn, a non-profit founded by music industry members that helps others struggling with addictions.
Sharon, William, Kendra, and Jake are just four of the over 400 formerly homeless individuals every year who achieve independence. Our graduates are the teller at your bank, the sous chef at your favorite restaurant, the nurse who gives your child the flu shot, the tech helping you trouble shoot your computer problems – your co-worker, your classmate, your neighbor. Happy, successful, independent members of our community!
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