Diplomas are just the start …

gradWhen you’re a teen in the juvenile justice system,

and you’ve been told you’ll never amount to anything;
and you don’t have the skills to get a job, open a bank account, or pay the bills;
and maybe no one else in your family finished high school;
and it doesn’t matter anyway because you can’t go home any more …

education can change your life profoundly.

This month we celebrated eight teenagers who beat the odds to earn their high school diplomas. For these youth — five boys and three girls who’ve all lived in our transitional homes — graduation was an important step toward a better life: college, vocational training, and employment. Methodist Home for Children makes a lifetime commitment to these young people with mentoring and financial assistance to help with their higher education goals.

grad2Click here to see photos from their big day.

Read what their mentors had to say:

·  You have all achieved something great today. Knowledge can never be taken away from you. —Kristen Tettemer, MHC Juvenile Services Coordinator

·  There are probably people who have tried to define who you are, but I want you to know that you can be whatever you want to be. Don’t let this be an end point. Let it be a beginning for where you want to be in the future. Find something you’re passionate about. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find someone you want to share your life with and witness that life with you moving forward. —William Lassiter, Juvenile Justice Deputy Commissioner, N.C. Department of Public Safety

·  You have been empowered by your education. People will try to tell your story for you, but now you have the power to reclaim it. No matter what happened in the past, from this point forward, you can retell that story. —Ken Perry, MHC Vice President of Operations

Congratulations to each one of our new graduates. We are very proud of you and we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.