ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The Commons at Towne Square Mall was filled with young people and their mentors on Sunday, as youthOPPORTUNITIES Ashtabula honored some its brightest and best participants.
YouthOPPORTUNITIES helps young people achieve their goals in education and find jobs and countless other services.
This is youthOPPORTUNITIES second year delivering services to local youth.Youth Coordinator Shaelynn Ballard welcomed students and their guests to the ceremony, who gathered to celebrate accomplishments made throughout the 2017-2018 school year.
The accomplishments included obtaining GED or a high school diploma, perfect attendance, completing skills training, program completion, completing post secondary train and military enlistment.
“This ceremony recognized over 150 students who participated in youthOPPORTUNITIES programs during the 2017-2018 school year,” Ballard said.
“We had a reception with refreshments afterwards.”She said Outstanding Student of 2018 was Sarah Wise and the student speakers included Doug Brummit, Brianna Bradley and Sarah Wise.
Guest speakers included Ashtabula County Commissioners Kathryn Whittington and JP Ducro.
Keynote speaker was CTAG Coordinator for the Ashtabula City School District and the Ashtabula County Educational Services Center Sally Bradley, she said.
“We have 603 youth participating in youthOPPORTUNITIES,” Ballard said.
“We help them develop job skills, find employment, earn GED or high school diplomas, learn to drive and all kinds of self improvement activities.
We even help homeless youth and help them get off drugs.
Our goal is to decrease the barriers they face.”She said there were 12 people on staff at youthOPPORTUNITIES and all were willing to help enrolled kids “anywhere at any time.”
“We got a lot of help finding the youth employment at businesses like Lake City Plating and Chromaflow,” she said.
“Local businesses have helped a lot of these young people achieve success.”Jeff Seth, opportunities supervisor of the youthOPPORTUNITIES program and the Ashtabula County Technical and Career Center, said it was great to have an opportunity to recognize participants for their achievements.
“We try very hard to be an all-services program,” he said.“We help them make the needed connections to achieve their goals.”Sally Bradley said the recognition the youth received was well deserved.
“YouthOPPORTUNITIES is a great opportunity for Ashtabula County to get skills and achieve goals,” she said.
“It’s a much needed resource for these young people to attain success.”Montana Proctor, a participant from Ashtabula, said she received recognition for recently being hired at Zehrco Plastics.
“I’ve been in the program for four years and I’ve taken many courses,” she said.
“It’s a really good program. They help with practically anything you can think of. They can give you work experience, a GED, financial help, legal help and support. I got my youthOPPORTUNITIES assistance through A-Tech.”
Ryan Hargrove, of Ashtabula, said he received an award for graduating form Lakeside and being self-employed.
“It’s an amazing program,” he said.
“I got help for Driver’s Education and they paid for it. They’re great people, too. When I first went in to find out about the program they introduced me to all the caseworkers.”
Darvin Watkins, of Ashtabula, said he’s been in the program two years.
“I wasn’t recognized on Sunday, but I attended the ceremony,” he said.
YouthOPPORTUNITIES always wishes you the best and tries to help you achieve your goals.”
Homesafe along with Octavia Yates, Teen Coordinator at the Ashtabula County YMCA and G.O. Community Development Corp., will be hosting a community event, BREAK THE SILENCE—ONE BILLON RISING. A call to action to bring attention to the escalation of violence and exploitation of women. On Tuesday, February 28 at 5pm in the G.O. gym, we call everyone to take action in our local community. To use dance as a form of protest that takes place in our community with other activists, with people of all abilities, demanding justice and systematic changes against violence. Join us to rise up together for change and equality.
The One Billion Rising 2017 Campaign means we are rising in solidarity against the exploitation of women. 1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February, we rise – in hundreds of countries across the world – to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by this violence. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.
Breaking the Silence: Risings are community led and determined events. Communities gather together to witness the power of holding space for testimonials, determined to make sure no other girl has to endure that type of violence in her community again.
We invite men and boys to support the call to end violence against women and girls, reminding their communities that this is not only a women’s issue and that its impact can be felt by pledging to live in a non-violent community together.
Please join us Tuesday, February 28 at 5PM to listen to inspirational speakers, learn about community services available to help, and dance to rise together for change in our community.
Homesafe, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit community agency, committed to breaking the cycle of violence in Ashtabula County and its surrounding areas through the provision of emergency and non-emergency services. Our mission is to assure greater awareness of the problems of domestic violence and abuse through the education and empowerment of individuals, families, and the community.