By Kathy Kavanaugh
The Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World graduation was held on December 19, 2019 at the Watervliet Housing Authority. The graduates, Amber Craver and Shaquise Herring, could not have spoken more eloquently. They both spoke of hesitancy for joining classes that last 2.5 hours a week for 12 weeks. Amber thanked Mary Clinton (who works at Watervliet Housing where both graduates reside) for continually encouraging her to come. Both spoke of how much they learned to appreciate the value of speaking in person with members of the community, such as Community Resources Federal Credit Union, Watervliet Mayor’s Office and Whitney Young Health Center, having in-depth conversations and hearing pledges of personal support. “They helped propel us to success.” Amber called Rosemary Revoir, Maureen McAuliffe and Kathy Kavanaugh, facilitators of the classes, “my aunts.” “They gave me more than you will ever know. They guided us through each class, but the love you gave cleared my mind and instilled so much positivity in me and created a space of trust and comfortability. I know this is just a class, but for us, this is our real life and it feels really good and I’m really proud to break the cycle of just living at the minimum. I like to think I am a proud and driven woman and now I have the tools to continue my journey with confidence.” Amber’s future story includes getting her finances in order, getting back to regular exercising and working on her emotional health. Shaquise’s future story involves going back to school to get re-certified to be a phlebotomist.
Both graduates mentioned how much they loved the home-cooked meals that the Ladies of Charity delivered each week at noon. The meals were so delicious as well as nutritious and they provided a wonderful opportunity to start each class gathered around a table sharing a meal and learning what went on in their lives since our previous meeting. “It was like having Thanksgiving each week!”
Getting Ahead is co-sponsored by LOC and Watervliet Housing Authority. Everyone involved thanks Mary Clinton, who works at Watervliet Housing Authority where classes are held, for her amazing job of recruiting investigators, organizing graduation and any number of additional details to make Getting Ahead succeed.
The next class of Getting Ahead will begin in the spring.