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Youth in foster care walk the stage at Ninth Annual Transitional Independent Living Program graduation ceremony

Dames Youth in foster care walk the stage at  Ninth Annual Transitional Independent Living Program graduation ceremony

Aaron Dames

Youth in foster care walk the stage at  Ninth Annual Transitional Independent Living Program graduation ceremony

 By Jenna Leon

     DAVIE, FL – Case managers, life coaches, caregivers and peers gathered recently at the 9th Annual Transitional Independent Living Program “Build On Your Dreams” graduation ceremony to cheer on more than 60 youth in foster care, as they walked the stage in caps and gowns to be recognized as a graduate of middle school, high school, technical school or college.

“Graduation is a milestone and a time to celebrate a goal achieved, a victory won,” said Emilio Benitez, ChildNet president and CEO. “It is no different for students in foster care, who were so excited to have the opportunity to walk across this stage with crowds of supporters on hand to share their special moment as graduates of the Transitional Independent Living Program.”

ChildNet works with a broad group of service providers to ensure that youth are prepared to transition from foster care successfully. These services assist them with obtaining the skills and education necessary to become self-sufficient, live independently and maintain employment, offering services such as life skills training and financial, educational and social support to help them thrive.

    Among students who walked the stage was Aaron Dames, a high school graduate from Whiddon-Rogers Education Center in Fort Lauderdale. De-spite a history of abuse, school instability and the loss of his mother, Dames, who was known as the “Mayor of Whiddon Rogers,” became president and graduated salutatorian of his senior class. He will attend the University of Central Florida to pursue a degree in hospitality and tourism.

“It has not always been an easy road, but walking across that stage with others in foster care makes me especially proud of what I have achieved,” said Dames.

The ceremony was coordinated by a collaborative group of non-profit agencies who sup-port transitioning youth.

For more information about ChildNet, please call the agency in Broward County at (954) 484-6000.

Visit www.ChildNet.us and www.facebook.com/ChildNet.

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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