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Eighteen men from Woodland Terrace recently were honored at a graduation from their professional development and job training program.

The 14-week program, funded by the Department of Health, was given by Smart from the Start, one of the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s community partners since 2012. DCHA brought the Boston-based educational program to D.C. to bridge achievement gaps by working with infants to pre-school-aged children, their families, and the surrounding community.

“This was an unforgettable journey to prepare us for our future,” said one graduate, Preston Gray. “The journey doesn’t start at the beginning. It begins at the end.”

The graduates ranged in age from 19 to 40 years old and are fathers to 29 children. They earned a number of certifications, such as CPR and Green Cleaning, and will engage in meetings and interviews with several potential employers. Additionally, they participated in parenting, life skills, conflict resolution, and leadership education.

“It is an incredible honor to invest in the future of these brilliant young men,” said Cherie Craft, executive director of Smart from the Start. “The greatness in them is what is going to change the world.”

At the graduation, held April 27, the graduates and their families heard inspirational remarks from WHUT-TV General Manager Jeff Lee and Safer, Stronger D.C.’s Marvin Gay. Each graduate also introduced themselves to the crowd and explained their future goals.

The Smart from the Start program is modeled after Harvard University research on the theory of change: if you build adult capabilities and skills, the lives and outcomes for the child greatly improve. The classes not only focus on children up to age 5, but also work with parents, grandparents and other caretakers. A myriad of programs are offered for the older students, such as GED and ESL classes, group discussions on caregiving and job training, among other subjects.

 

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WHUT-TV General Manager Jeff Lee
Last modified: 5/14/2018 12:40:31 PM