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Success Story Friday: Graduation Day!

November 19, 2010

One of our new graduates, James Sumter, poses with his new Goodwill certificate.

Today, a brand new group of 65 Occupational Skills Training graduates accepted their certificates in a ceremony at the Carole A. Hoefener Center in Uptown Charlotte. Their hard work over the past several weeks to learn about Hospitality & Tourism, Banking & Customer Service, and Construction & Green Jobs is done.

Now they can proudly count themselves as Goodwill alumni, and they’re one step closer to their ultimate goals–securing a spot in the workforce and beginning their new careers.

Some graduates, like Lisa Obeid, who represented her Banking & Customer Service class with a speech, came to Goodwill after battling depression and a lack of self-confidence. “I believe this program provides a roadmap for people who have lost their way because of circumstances such as depression and outdated skills,” Lisa said in her speech. “Thanks to Goodwill and its supporters, I am at a better place in my life emotionally and equipped with better tools to continue my efforts in finding employment. I now look forward to waking up every morning. And to think, it all started with a donation and one change on my part.”

Others, like James Sumter, a representative from the Hospitality & Tourism class, came to Goodwill for help overcoming bad decisions they’d made in the past. After spending 13 years in prison, James is now working two part-time jobs while he’s on the hunt for full-time employment. He’s a champion of the power of positive thinking, and an inspiration to his classmates.

“I’m definitely not an advocate of prison,” James said. “But I am a champion for reform, because it gave me the opportunity to develop into the man I am today. I stand here as a result of my commitment to faith and hard work.

“We all understand that change is never easy; it takes time and patience. But if we continue to remain faithful and humble and keep pressing forward, the sky is the limit.”

Click here for more photos from today’s celebration. The sky is the limit, indeed!

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