TEMPO program continues to thrive, graduating its largest class yet

Published: Jul. 4, 2020 at 11:43 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The largest TEMPO program class graduated in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, with 34 young people. The program for disconnected youth ages 16 to 24 continues to grow.

The TEMPO program focuses on outreach to youth who aren't in school or employed.

Maxwell Wentworth was part of Tuesday’s graduation. The sixteen year-old was working on his GED when his father signed him up for the program about 6 months ago.

"I really got like a one on one chance to learn, not like a sit around listen class, get distracted," said Wentworth.

He has big plans for the future.

"I plan to do auto mechanics at Lively, and people from the TEMPO program are going to help me get set up. They made a deal with me that if I graduated this year, they'd pay for it," said Wentworth. "I mean, helping a kid go to college, that's life changing for anybody."

Dr. Kimball Thomas founded the TEMPO program in early 2019; it's now part of the City of Tallahassee's Department of Community Services.

“Well right now we’ve had a lot of wonderful milestones. Over 1,000 participants to date. Several many months ago, walking just east of here down 2525 Texas Street with one applicant, and now over 1000- that’s a milestone,” said Dr. Thomas.

A new office for the TEMPO program will be located in census tract 10.01, part of the promise zone in Tallahassee, at the Town South Shopping Center.

“This is what we envision: that they will have a place that they can walk into, build on those opportunities, and build relationships with the City,” said Dr. Thomas. “When you look at the broad sweep population of our participants, 90% of them do not have transportation of their own. Many of them are walking or using StarMetro buses. So this particular census tract, which has a high number of disconnected youth was a starting place, and also one that we have put a concerted effort into.”

Dr. Thomas envisions the center having financial literacy classes, mental health services, and computer stations as students work on their degrees. He says it’s a step toward a larger vision of creating a re-engagement and technical center as part of a resiliency hub on Lake Bradford, years down the line.

In addition to reaching the milestone of 1,000 participants, the TEMPO program still has a 0% recidivism rate.

Wentworth encourages other students to check it out.

“If you need an education, go get it. TEMPO is there to help you out!”

You can learn more about TEMPO here.

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