[UPDATE] by Lanetra Bennett - June 14, 2012 - 6:01pm
Shani Lane never imagined a graduation day like this one.
She's graduating from the Capital Area Community Action Agency's Self-Sufficiency Program.
Lane says selling drugs to provide for her kids landed her in jail.
She says, "Getting out, I had nowhere to go. The first thing I thought about was I want to go back trying to sell drugs. But, I remembered community Action could help people if they go out and find a job, they would have their back."
Lane says the program helped her get stable. She now has a full-time job, and she is on track to graduate from TCC in December.
"I used them as a stepping stool and pushed my stumbling blocks out of the way. I kept going forward and I started succeeding, and it felt really good. So, I kept going, and I'm going to keep on going." Lane says.
The program provides support to families experiencing financial crisis, and who are committed to achieving a higher quality of life.
Eight people graduated Thursday.
One of the graduates ended her speech by saying, "No matter what comes your way, never, never give up."
Case Manager Lasharn Quince accepted the certificate for her client. Her client was a 20-year-old mother with three kids, facing eviction, with no diploma or G.E.D.
Quince says, "I've even heard people say, oh well, this will be another statistic. Well, she fought those statistics."
Quince says her client got her GED and put it on Quince's office wall, called the Triple-A Allstars.
"And what is says, is, show me what you're working with, and that's what she did." Says, Quince.
To learn how you can apply for the program, call The Capital Area Community Action Agency at 850-222-2043.
Tallahassee, FL -- June 14, 2012 --
A special graduation program will honor eight local residents who overcame major challenges and successfully moved out of poverty at a special luncheon Thursday, June 14, 2012, beginning at 11:45 AM at the Smith-Williams Community Center. The Capital Area Community Action Agency worked with these families to help them become more self-sufficient. The Zonta Club of Tallahassee is hosting the event.
"These individuals demonstrate that with a strong will and a little help from the community, they can overcome challenges to become productive contributing members of the community," said Tim Center, Executive Director of Capital Area Community Action Agency.
Through case management, the Agency's Family Self-Sufficiency Program (funded by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services) provides comprehensive support to families experiencing chronic financial crisis, and who demonstrate a commitment to overcoming barriers to achieve a higher quality of life. Assistance included education and job training, job placement, transportation, gas vouchers, food vouchers, rental assistance and more.
For nearly three years, the honorees participated in programs designed to empower individuals in the community by giving them the skills and resources needed to improve the quality of their lives.
The honorees include:
Shani Lane - Ms. Lane came to Capital Area in 2009 homeless and is now on track to graduate from TCC in December 2012 with an Associate of Arts degree in Social Work. She is working a full-time job as the Operations Manager at Steak-n-Shake.
Terence White - Came into the program in 2010 with aspirations of going to barbering school. He completed barbering school and is now operating a mobile barbering business.
Valarie Colson -Unemployed and living off of her husband's VA benefits, child support, and financial aid, she secured her cosmetology license, works in her mother's salon and is on track to receive her BA in Business Administration in December 2012 from Keiser College. She entered the program in 2010.
David Banegas and Karla Cruce - This homeless couple needed to secure both housing and employment. Both are now working full-time jobs and have maintained housing for 2 years and are now over-income for program services.
Tamara Davis - Homeless and working part-time while receiving child support, Ms. Davis is now enrolled at Tallahassee Community College while working a full-time job at Little Lambs Pre-School. She has maintained housing for 2 years.
Alrene Hicks - Ms. Hicks will receive special recognition for successfully starting a small business while working full-time at the Department of Children and Families. She is on track to complete her Bachelors degree this summer.
Cassandra Durant - Ms. Durant will receive special recognition after accessing the Agency's Homelessness Prevention Rapid Re-Housing Program for homeless clients. Ms. Durant is now receiving SSI benefits, has successfully managed her Micro-Enterprise business (Gift Baskets by Cassandra) and maintained housing for 2 years while consistently managing her household budget.
Taniesha Greene - Ms. Greene became homeless due to an eviction and set goals upon enrollment that included obtaining her GED, going to college and maintaining her household budget. She received her GED and is enrolled in Valencia College in Orlando. Additionally, she is employed full-time at Orlando International Airport. Ms. Greene has been able to maintain her household expenses for at least a year.
The Capital Area Community Action Agency offers a safety net to the poor in eight counties in the region. In addition to providing assistance in times of crisis, the Agency operates nine nationally-accredited Head Start Centers and provides a comprehensive, system to assist low-income families to live self-sufficient, quality lives.
Zonta Club of Tallahassee is a chapter of Zonta International which is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Tallahassee Chapter runs the Keys are in Her Hands Project, in partnership with the Capital Area Community Action Agency, to mentor very low-income women in an on-going self-sufficiency curriculum.